Inside, the stage has been strategically placed by set designer Caro Walker, and the theater lighting was installed by lighting wizard Bonny Prucha.
After two years at the Steppingstone Playhouse at Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center in Kahului, the former Professional Arts of the Pacific LLC has become Pro-Arts Inc., a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization that now has it own Pro-Arts Playhouse.
“We are very grateful to Maui Academy of Performing Arts [MAPA] for supporting us as we produced shows such as Urinetown, the Musical; Cabaret; Sleeping Beauty; and Cinderella,” said Pro-Arts Producer Doug Kendrick.
Producers Jonathan Lehman and Doug Kendrick have opened Pro-Arts Playhouse in the Azeka Makai Shopping Center in Kīhei.
“We were able to try out our ideas and develop a loyal audience of families who enjoy good theater produced by professionals,” said Pro-Arts Producer Jonathan Lehman.
Lehman and Kendrick have been looking for a venue for a while, but when they were shown the former Versus Club, they knew they had found their theater. The air-conditioned space is large enough for an audience of 120, but will initially hold only 60 seats with floor seating available for children.
“We want to express our thanks for the support of the managers at Azeka Shopping Center and to our devoted company members,” said Kendrick and Lehman. “They are making it possible to create the only live theater on the South Shore.”
“We want this to truly be a community space,” said Kendrick. “We hope to have classes here in the future as well as opportunities for other producers to utilize the space when we are dark.”
“We will be producing five performances each weekend,” said Lehman. “One at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and two at 1 and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. We also hope to produce adult shows as well. Our thought would be to do children’s shows at 1 and 4 p.m. and put on the adult shows at 7:30 Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
Their first production is a revival of their hit, Cinderella.
“We have several new cast members,” said Kendrick, “including Tom Althouse, who was so great as the emcee in Cabaret, as the mouse; Kristie Scott, fresh off her turn as Rosie Probert in Under Milk Wood, will be our fairy godmother; and Caleb Rhodes, who also did a great job in Cabaret, will be the prince. Returning from the original cast will be Dale Button and Cat Hayes as the stepsisters, Rose Roselinsky as the wicked stepmother, Vinnie Linares as the paige, Bill Schnitzer as the king and Arielle Lehua Simon as Cinderella.
The “fractured fairy tale” is appealing to all ages with its sparkling wit, clever songs and free glowsticks! (Kendrick promises that the glow sticks used to transform Cinderella will be return in future performances.)
Lehman and Kendrick have developed a reputation for efficient rehearsal processes, high production values and professional productions. They come by these through their vast experience in the business. Both were professionals on the Mainland—Lehman primarily in California and Kendrick in Colorado.
On the Mainland, Lehman directed and performed in many musicals, serving as artistic director for the Newstage Theatre Co. and as general manager for the Contra Costa Musical Theatre. In children’s theatre, he’s portrayed everything from Merlin to the Wicked Witch of the West to Jiminy Cricket.
Lehman relocated to Maui in 2002, where he has appeared onstage as Sancho in Man of La Mancha and grandpa in You Can’t Take It With You at ‘Īao Theater. He played Oliver Hix in The Music Man and Jacob Marley in Scrooge for MAPA.
Kendrick was CEO of a private outpatient mental health clinic for 23 years on the Mainland and been involved with corporate and residential real estate investment and management on Maui for over 14 years.
Kendrick has been active in professional theater since the 1960s as an actor, singer, director and/or producer. He has appeared in Maui productions of The Music Man, Man of La Mancha and Into the Woods. His last production of Side by Side by Sondheim was a hit in Colorado Springs, selling out every show in advance. Other professional stage credits include The Merry Widow, The Ballad of Baby Doe, City of Angels and many others.
Enjoy Cinderella at South Maui’s newest performance venue through May 30. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and 1 and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.