Franky Jr. A Certified Blast

Lying in bed, hearing my normally sober dad giggling like a kid in the other room watching Young Frankenstein on TV was a special kind of torture (but I was 11 and it was past my bedtime). Thanks to Manoa Valley Theatre’s presentation of Mel Brooks’ masterpiece – they just don’t make ’em like this anymore – of musical comedy, I finally know what I was missing.

To say Elitei Tatafu Jr. was born to act would minimize the dynamic talent he brings to the stage. As Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Fronk-en-steen!), he is the grandson of the infamous doc who had a thing for cadavers. Frederick, however, is a garden-variety professor, with an innocent fascination for the brain, until he visits Transylvania, where all form of comedic riot breaks loose, from a naughty hayride with his new, shapely assistant Inga (Samantha Stoltzfus) to a welcome to the freakish family castle by the divinely dour Frau Blucher (Shannon Winpenny).

The doc’s hunchbacked sidekick Igor, inhabited by Paul T. Mitri, is poetry in motion with a sprightly step and big expressive dark eyes that give life to his adorably ghoulish face. With ust a few quirky movements he puts the audience in seizures.

The entire cast vibrates with such liveliness that by intermission you wonder how they’re going to maintain the momentum. The two segments play out like two separate entities. The well-executed plot and sharp wit of the first half gives way to farcical mishmash in the second with some monster romance, angry townsfolk and village hangings.

The show is the Hawaii premiere of the long-running Broadway hit that president of the board Jeff Portnoy explains is a ma or technical feat to produce. In fact, when the proposal was first presented, producing director Dwight Martin said he thought it was “too big of a show to even consider.” Against all odds, says Martin, “We took the big Broadway-sized musical, kept the fun of it and put it on our postage stamp-sized stage.” Indeed, and the waves of howling laughter that rock the theater mark it a rollicking success.

A Bounty of Art

‘Intergalactic BeachBoys’ by Kamehameha student Nick Farrant

‘Intergalactic BeachBoys’ by Kamehameha student Nick Farrant

I’m not just talking brain acrobatics when I say you can dive into the art scene Sept. 15 at the new Diverse Arts Center at 604 Ala oana Blvd. In addition to walls covered with paintings, photography and street art by more than 20 artists, including MidWeek‘s own Leah Friel, Kamele Eskaran and Lawrence Tabudlo, DJs will be spinning music, while b-boys get their battle on.

“It’s a community event for all ages to come together and enjoy art, music and dance,” says Niki Kealoha, event organizer with ighty4. “There will be an art gallery by local artists and students, a DJ scratch battle, an all-styles and b-boy dance battle, as well as free workshops in stenciling, DJ scratching, breakdancing and more. Expect to be inspired, encouraged and motivated!”

American Indian portrait by Takumi 10

American Indian portrait by Takumi 10

The action happens from 3:30 to 10 p.m. Art-viewing is free; admission for activities is $15, $10 for students and free for keiki under 12. Proceeds will help Diverse Arts Center file for nonprofit status. For more info, email