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    Posted July 24, 2011 by
    Wailuku, Hawaii
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    "Chicago" Arrives at Maui's Historic Iao Theater


    Volunteer actors? $15 ticket price? This show must be bad, right?


    Wrong! The Sunday matinee performance of “Chicago”  that I attended at the historic Iao Theater in Wailuku (about as far  “Off-Broadway” as you can get while remaining in the U.S.) was beyond  amazing and on par with plays I have seen at the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland which  I often attend during summer or fall.  Lia Krieg and  Casey Elizabeth Murphy were the show’s super-stars in the roles of  accused murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, and the entire talented  cast made a top-notch rendering of this sometimes risqué musical.


    The Spanish-Mission style Iao Theater opened in August of 1928 and  featured live stage acts as well as movies.  Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney,  Donald O’Connor and Frank Sinatra are among the famous actors who have  appeared here.  Sinatra attended the 1953 premiere of From Here to Eternity (in which he played Private Angelo Maggio; the movie was filmed on the  neighboring island of Oahu) at the Iao Theater.  Currently the Iao  Theater hosts Broadway style plays and musicals, films, concerts, comedy  shows, and social events.


    The theater closed during the 1980’s.  But demolition was avoided,  restoration took place in 1995-1996, and in 1994 the Iao was listed as  the oldest theater in Hawaii on the Hawaii State Register of Historic  Places and the following year became listed on the National Register of  Historic Places.  Air conditioning was added in 2009.


    The Maui Community Theater, formed by the Maui Players and Little  Theater of Maui back in 1931, became known as Maui OnStage in 2002. The  company employs two full time staff members as well as a handful of  part-time workers.  Husband and wife team Alexis Dascoulias (Executive  Director) and Steven Dascoulias (Production / Facilities Manager) moved  to Maui from New Hampshire four years ago.


    Maui OnStage has more than 200 volunteer actors, as well as over 150  other volunteers who share talents from set building, painting, costume  construction, box office management, ushering and event coordinating.   It is governed by an 11 member volunteer Board of Directors.  Maui  OnStage has been housed in the Historic Iao Theater for the past 25  years.


    “Chicago” continues through July 31st, then “The Garden of BE”  premieres on September 23. But the company performs throughout the year,  so whenever you are on Maui, take advantage of this great entertainment  value.


    (For more information about the Iao Theater, to check on upcoming shows, and to order tickets, visit Maui Onstage.com or phone 808-22-6969.  Dick Jordan received a complimentary ticket to  “Chicago.”  Photos and Iao Theater history provided by Alexis Dascoulias  of Maui OnStage.  This story first appeared on the travel blog, Tales Told From The Road, www.talestoldfromtheroad.com).

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