Broadway Bound

If your clients think Oahu’s live entertainment consists of hula girls and ukuleles, tell them to guess again. In recent years, island stage shows have broadened their scope and professionalism, enhancing the nightlife scene and appealing to thousands of ticket-buying visitors each month.

By: Marty Wentzel

If your clients think Oahu’s live entertainment consists of hula girls and ukuleles, tell them to guess again. In recent years, island stage shows have broadened their scope and professionalism, enhancing the nightlife scene and appealing to thousands of ticket-buying visitors each month.

Take “Creation, A Polynesian Journey,” Sheraton Princess Kaiulani’s live production. It’s far from your average Waikiki Polynesian revue, according to showroom manager Chuck Lee.

“‘Creation’ stands out in the way it mixes drama, illusions, sound, light and lasers,” Lee said.

On average, 300 people each night see the show, which follows the earliest Polynesians on their travels through the Pacific. Since opening in 1998, the show has been fine-tuned at least once a year to keep it fresh.

“We’ve taken out sections that slowed it down, and made it more upbeat,” Lee said.

On June 1, the show schedule grew from three to five nights a week to meet demand. Held nightly except Monday and Wednesday, “Creation” costs $62 including dinner, or $32 with cocktails. Call 808-931-4525.

Society of Seven, a group that blends Broadway and Las Vegas-style numbers with Hawaiiana and comedy, has headlined at the Outrigger Waikiki Main Showroom for 33 years. About 20,000 people see the show each month.

“SOS is always adding new, topical material, and they can be counted on to do the unexpected,” said Outrigger showroom spokeswoman Fran Kirk. “Shows are lavishly costumed, and they often include mini-Broadway productions.”

The seven-man act has grown more polished over the years, Kirk said. “They’ve developed better skills and thrown out stuff that didn’t work.” A younger version of the ensemble called SOS Las Vegas debuted in June 2001, and the two groups now alternate as headliners. Shows are Tuesday through Sunday ($57, dinner show; $39, cocktail show). Call 800-923-7469.

“Magic of Polynesia,” starring illusionist John Hirokawa, began 12 years ago at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome and moved to the Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel in September 1998. The $7 million theater built for the new show features high-tech lighting, sound, seating and staging, according to spokesman Deems Narimatsu.

“Our goal was to bring the highest quality of production to Waikiki entertainment,” Narimatsu said. “From January to August 2002, we averaged 17,000 people per month, and in June we grew to two shows nightly.” Featuring the largest performance cast in Waikiki, the show celebrates Hawaiian legends and Polynesian cultures through music and dance while showcasing Hirokawa’s sleight-of-hand.

A deluxe dinner show package costs $137, with the regular dinner show for $69 and the cocktail show for $41. Call 877-971-4321.

Each week some 15,300 people see “Horizons, Where the Sea Meets the Sky,” the evening extravaganza at the North Shore’s Polynesian Cultural Center since 1996.

Like the center itself, the 90-minute song and dance show focuses on traditions from Hawaii, New Zealand, Fiji, the Marquesas, Tahiti, Tonga and Samoa.

“Many of the performers in the show are students from the neighboring Brigham Young University-Hawaii campus who have come to Hawaii from the various Polynesian islands represented,” said Polynesian Cultural Center marketing director Ray Magalei. “By sharing their culture, they are able to help fund their education and gain work experience, while also learning a little about themselves and others, too.”

Rates depend on the seats and packages purchased, ranging from a $29 per person show-only ticket to the $165 Super Ambassador all-day experience.

Call 800-367-7060.

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