4 Top Music and Theater Venues on Oahu

4 Top Music and Theater Venues on Oahu

Catching a live stage or musical production can make a Hawaiian vacation even better By: Anahit Poturyan
Diamond Head Theatre Group presents top-quality productions of favorite shows such as “Spamalot.” // © 2014 Brad Goda
Diamond Head Theatre Group presents top-quality productions of favorite shows such as “Spamalot.” // © 2014 Brad Goda

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Need more cultural attractions for clients? Check out these Hawaii museums.

The Details

Oahu Visitors Bureau

Karishma Chowfin, director of travel industry sales for Oahu Visitors Bureau, loves the theater. So when the national touring production of the hit musical “Mamma Mia” came to Honolulu, she had to go.

“The costumes, the music, the stage sets, the performers and the overall performance were world class,” said Chowfin. “The actors on stage really kept us engaged during the entire show. I loved seeing how enthralled the audience was with the production.”

Vacationers who seek entertainment beyond the typical tourist-geared luau or Polynesian revues can make meaningful island memories at one of Oahu’s many stage production venues. Whether they choose a locally produced play and get a preview of island talent or enjoy national touring shows, visitors will be satisfied with a true cultural experience.

“It’s fabulous being able to watch a world-class performance on Oahu without having to pay the price of traveling to New York to see the same show on Broadway,” said Chowfin.

No matter where your clients’ interests lay — opera, ballet, theater or music — Oahu has something for all audiences.

“Oahu has a wide offering of stage productions that range from small community theaters presenting plays and musicals to larger-scale performances such as the Honolulu Symphony and Ballet Hawaii,” said Chowfin. “These productions offer visitors a glimpse into Hawaii’s thriving performing arts scene, which is quite vibrant and unexpected.”

For first-time travelers, the following four venues are a great place to start.

Blaisdell Arena
International superstars such as Elton John, Santana and Celine Dion have belted out classics at downtown Honolulu’s Blaisdell Arena, which holds up to 8,800 fans. This indoor venue is also a popular location for sporting events. Upcoming shows include country superstar Miranda Lambert and funnymen Gabriel Iglesias and Kat Williams.

Blaisdell Concert Hall
Admirers of opera and classical music can find shows regularly available here, including performances by the Hawaii Opera Theatre and Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. Occasionally, productions of Broadway musicals also call Blaisdell Concert Hall home. Travelers who are in Honolulu during the holidays should keep an eye out for Ballet Hawaii’s reputable production of “The Nutcracker.” Other highly anticipated upcoming shows include “Madame Butterfly” and comedian Daniel Tosh.

Hawaii Theatre
On the corner of Bethel Street and Pauahi Street in downtown Honolulu sits the historic Hawaii Theatre, which dates back to 1922. This beautifully renovated Art Deco building, nicknamed the “Pride of the Pacific,” seats 1,400 people and hosts a variety of programs such as silent films, plays, vaudevilles, ballets, Off-Broadway musicals, modern dance and concerts.

Waikiki Shell
There’s the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver, but don’t overlook Waikiki Shell in Honolulu. Just like the other two amphitheaters, Waikiki Shell offers excellent musical performances in a prime outdoor location — visitors can jam to music with scenic Diamond Head in the background. Located in Kapiolani Park just a short walk from the beach, Waikiki Shell invites guests to sit on a sloping grassy area or in one of its 2,400 seats.

Oahu visitors seeking a more intimate experience might visit the island’s community theaters. Notable groups include the Manoa Valley Theatre, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Hawaii Opera Theatre and the 99-year-old Diamond Head Theatre Group.

“An especially unique experience for visitors is Kuma Kuhua Theatre, which presents cutting-edge plays by local playwrights that portray life in Hawaii both from a historical and contemporary perspective,” said Chowfin. “We have some wonderful and talented performers on Oahu. There’s something that will suit everyone’s taste.”