In Waikiki's new Burn'n Love show, Leo Days channels Elvis Presley. // © 2015 Kat Wade
Feature image (above): The history and culture of Hawaii and the Pacific come to life on stage during Te Moana Nui. // © 2015 Te Moana Nui/Tihati Productions
When clients request a Hawaii destination where they can see live shows, travel agents can't go wrong sending them to Oahu or Maui — specifically Waikiki and Lahaina.
Both destinations are striving to stay fresh for first-timers and repeat visitors by updating their menu of dynamic stage productions. As a result, western U.S. agents have new ways to customize client itineraries with music, dance and comedy performances.
Here's a look at the most recent additions to the entertainment lineup on the two islands.
Burn’n Love Waikiki, Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber
A spinoff of the popular Maui show of the same name, this Elvis Presley tribute opened in Waikiki in July 2015. Channeling the King is impersonator Leo Days, who sings and sways his way through 75 minutes of music from the 1950s to 1970s.
The show focuses on Presley’s unique bond with Hawaii, where he performed live and filmed movies. Reenactments of local interviews with Presley spring from real radio transcripts, and historic photos and videos recall his island visits. Enhancing the experience are musicians, singers, dancers and high-tech sound and lighting systems.
Maui Celebrity Series, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
Famous stars shine on Maui during this monthly series of live acts, which debuted in September 2015. Coming up on Nov. 28 is standup comic and actor Rob Schneider of “Saturday Night Live (SNL)” fame. Dec. 30 brings William Shatner, who originated the role of Captain James T. Kirk in the “Star Trek” franchise. Jon Lovitz, another “SNL” alum who has gone on to TV and movie work, takes the stage on Jan. 16.
After that, watch for big names such as comedians and actors Carrot Top and John Cleese. All shows take place in Sheraton Maui’s ballroom, with seating limited to 600 people. Clients can rub elbows with the stars during after-parties in the hotel’s Black Rock Lounge.
Mele at the Moana, Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Starting in the 1930s, the world tuned into “Hawaii Calls,” a long-running live radio broadcast from the Moana’s Banyan Courtyard in Waikiki Beach. Since July 2015, this new concert series has been rekindling the musical magic during free, monthly concerts by top island entertainers.
Upcoming shows in 2015 include Kupaoa, a husband-and-wife duo with entwining voices and undeniable chemistry (Dec. 18). Timed with the hotel’s 115th anniversary, the show continues into 2016 with its mix of modern performers in a timeless setting.
Te Moana Nui, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Since its August 2015 launch in the Waikiki hotel’s Ainahau Showroom, this new production brings alive the history and culture of the Pacific. Billed as more than just dinner and a show, the experience invites visitors to immerse themselves in Hawaii’s heritage.
First comes the buffet highlighted by “lomi lomi” salmon, crab legs, prime rib and passion-fruit cake. During the performance, singers and dancers in elaborate costumes tell stories of the islands and their people. A highlight of the show is a customized number that pays tribute to Princess Kaiulani, who grew up on the land where the hotel now stands.