No matter which way you swing, 1940s cabaret sings the sweet sexy tunes of a nostalgic decade. Now the Sirens of Song, Maui’s newest girl group, explore that time of Hollywood fashion, war, chivalry and Jazz in a show this Friday, June 29, called the Hollywood Swing Canteen.
To do so, they’ve transformed the Maui Tropical Plantation into a cabaret room, complete with a new stage nicknamed the Waikapu Shell. Iconic music of the 40s, early Hollywood glamor pin-ups and USO shows will be lauded in this one-night-only performance.
“Sirens of Song is a new venture created by Casey Murphy and myself,” says Lia Krieg, one of the founders. “The idea is to breathe new life into the beautiful, yet under-appreciated Maui Tropical Plantation, while at the same time helping talented people on Maui realize their dreams of making a living doing what they love! We test piloted the new venue with ‘Coconut Island’ featuring the Kit Kat Club Cabaret. The event exceeded our expectations and we’re excited to debut our new performance group.”
You may recognize some of the dames in The Sirens of Song, who have been an active part of Maui’s entertainment scene. Kreig was most recently seen in the Maui Onstage productions of Grease as Rizzo, and played Velma Kelly in Chicago. Nara Boone has opened for numerous Reggae artists, including Steel Pulse,Yellowman, Eek-a-Mouse and Mikey Dread on Maui and the famous Wailers at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. Boone has also recorded lead and backing vocals for artists from Hawaii, California, Canada and West Africa, making more than 17 records. Both Krieg and Boone have also sung as lead vocalists in Maui Theatre’s Ulalena.
Casey Murphy brings all kind of theatrical experience from her home state of Virginia, and spices it up with Maui flair. She’s played heavily comedic roles like Linda from The Wedding Singer and Roxie in last summer’s Chicago at Maui OnStage. Most recently, she showed off a softer side of her voice and stage personality in the title role in Pro-Arts’ Cinderella.
Jonna Ahn is a graduate of University of Redlands Dance Company and Theater department. She has been in dozens of musicals and hundreds of live performances throughout her career. Ahn currently performs with various bands throughout Hawaii.
The Sirens researched the 1940’s era to get their Canteen style tight. Krieg says they also threw in some modern touches. The cocktail servers will be in costume as pin-ups, Maui Onstage will do a sneak peek exhibition of their upcoming play The Producers and Jason Wulf and his Swing Maui Dancers will perform. The Siren songbirds will rally the troops with “Orange Colored Sky,” “Sing Sing Sing,” “Jump Jive and Wail,” “Fever” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”
“We take a romp through the 40’s,” says Krieg. “The first set welcomes the audience as ‘soldiers’ and gives a nod to the popular USO shows of the time. The second set is filled with Jazz, big band and swing numbers and the third set features the Hollywood Sirens of the late 40s. The SoS are hand-picked vocalists with multiple talents, so you can expect to see and hear lots of great vocals and dancing. The Kit Kat Club is presenting their fabulous burlesque-style dancing and vocals, while Trevor Arnholt of Phys Ed Rentals is also lending his vocal and dance talents.”
After the fall of France in World War II, and the rationing of fabric, metals and rubber became a reality, Hollywood fashion coaxed sleek silhouettes from designers. Krieg says Sarah Loney, who costumes shows for Maui OnStage and ProArts, assisted with their looks and made some custom pieces for the pin-up models, including a bathing suit from a vintage 40s pattern. Kathleen Schultz, the head costumier of MAPA, graciously outfitted the girls as well. Larissa Williams of LeRu Atelier added some modern celebrity touches with baubles from a tour with Christina Aguilera. Hair and makeup is being done by Chi Calina.
Doors open at 6:30pm and Bruddah Willy will serve up a 4th of July summer spread. The menu will feature his famous pork ribs, BBQ chicken, crispy mashed potatoes, roasted potato salad, green beans, corn on the cob, watermelon, a “chopped” side salad and even pulled pork sliders. Vegetarians can enjoy a meatless Cobb salad entree. Dessert includes patriotic shave ice from Alan at the Shave Ice Cafe and a brownie sundae.
There will also be two full bars available, as well as a satellite bar that will have beer and wine. Theme-inspired cocktail specials like the “Pinup Punch,” “The Bombshell” and the “Canteen Cooler” will be featured. Premium alcohols and some fancy wines and champagne will be available. After the stage show, you can dance till the wee hours of the night (for Waikapu) with vintage visuals by Doug DeBoer and maestro Scott Provonsha’s “Electro-Swing.”
“The next show we plan to do with SoS will be called ‘Motown Prom’ and will feature songs from the 50s and early 60s,” says Krieg. “Kind of a musical journey through time. We want to note also that the show is the entire evening. A guest from our last event described it as a ‘cabaret-carnival plus a helluva party!’ We want people to feel like they’ve been swept away to a different place when they enter the event, and the Maui Tropical Plantation is a great place to do that.”
Tickets are $15 at the door. A limited number of VIP tables are available for purchase at the door on a first-come, first-served basis at $10 a pop. You can buy tickets at www.hollywoodswing.eventbrite.com through Thursday or at the door on the day of the event.
Hollywood Swing Canteen
Located at the Maui Tropical Plantation
1670 Honoapiilani Hwy. Wailuku