Dear Diary, Last night, I saw a boatful of perfectly normal women erupt into fits of screaming, like teens at a Beatles concert or Brazilians at a soccer game … and I have to admit, I did too. I was with friends late at night, totally outside my comfort zone, when I found myself gleefully responding as a group of 10 chiseled men danced, sang, showed some muscle, got a little naughty and, in general, goofed off for us. Maybe that’s what made it so much fun – the silly part. XOXO
The show is Na Kane-The Men of Paradise, a male revue that opened less than two months ago, and it happens on the Alii Kai Catamaran during a two-hour journey out of Honolulu Harbor. One of the founders, David Abrams, performed as a Chippendales dancer in Las Vegas for 10 years and also went on a world tour with the troupe, performing in 22 countries a year.
“When I turned 40, I retired. I thought, it’s time to grow up,” he says, laughing boyishly. “I moved out here to Hawaii and realized there was no (entertainment directed toward women).”
Abrams decided to do what he knew best and create a male revue in Hawaii.
“Coming from Chippendales, the biggest misconception with male revues is that they’re strippers,” he adds. “They’re not strippers. We don’t accept tips, we don’t do lap dances. It’s a very clean, classy woman’s fantasy show.”
The 10 kane are all local and they do a fantastic Tahitian dance number, so women fantasizing about perfectly built specimens of the Islands won’t be disappointed. But what makes the evening so outrageous is that the women come in groups celebrating special occasions, which means they’re ready to party. As the men parade across the floor, showing off their dexterous dance moves in themed clothing, be it cowboys, football players or ’80s neon wear, the ladies start making noise – particularly boisterous are the birthday groups and bachelorette parties.
The floating nightclub welcomes women 21 and over, with Abrams pointing out that he commonly sees ladies in their 80s and 90s enjoying the interactive show just as thoroughly. Keyword: interactive. Some ladies hide under tables when they hear the word, but not at Na Kane. Here, they clamor for the spotlight.
Back to the men: “You want guys who have a nice look,” says Abrams of the show’s talent, “but you also want guys who have a nice body, a great personality and the ability to pick up choreography. It’s really hard to find good guys. We got lucky.”
Fellow Chippendales alum Shawn Dean, former choreographer for the company’s European tours, is now the choreographer for Na Kane. He points out that the Hawaii incarnation is a tamer entity: “The Chippendales choreography was a bit more burlesque in the sense that they showed a lot more skin. Men of Paradise is more tastefully done.”
As far as injecting the show with some aloha flavor, Dean says, “When you come to Hawaii, you’re going to experience luaus and dinner shows, so I wanted to give the show a different element, a little bit of Vegas, with a flair of the Hawaii traditional in it, and I think we did a good job of that.”
Just before the men prepare to hit the stage, the timing is almost cosmic when Abrams responds to a question about Footloose-style “this type of dance is bad” naysayers: “Do you hear that?” he asks, as the 10 hearty dancers lift their bowed heads and whoop and clap. “They all just prayed together. They pray before and after every show. It’s a really good group of guys and they’ve become just like brothers. They’re awesome.”
The lively response from the ladies throughout the evening proves the men’s sculpturing and discipline has paid off. By the end of the evening, the show runway has turned into a dance floor where the partygoers giggle about their cheeks hurting from laughing and their voices going hoarse from cheering.
the TICKET stub
NA KANE- THE MEN OF PARADISE
When: Friday and Saturday, 9:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Where: Alii Kai Catamaran, Aloha Tower Pier 5
Cost: $64 ($39 kamaaina, $36 military)
More Info: 222-8666, email@example.com, menofparadise.us
– A U D I T I O N S –
OPEN CASTING FOR NA KANE-THE MEN OF PARADISE
Date: Aug. 24
Time: Arrive between 9 and 10 a.m.
Location: Alii Kai Catamaran, Aloha Tower Pier 5
Bring a recent photo to casting. Reserve a casting spot ahead of time by calling 557-9619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MVT Takes The Cake
At the foot of the Koolaus on Aug. 12, with evening winds
breezing past the forested veranda of the Koolau Ballrooms at Koolau Golf Club, it was inside the ballroom that Hawaii’s stars shined brightest. This is where a VIP assembly of formally groomed actors gathered for the Hawaii State Theatre Council’s annual Pookela Awards – with a year of laughter- and tear-filled stages, costumes, monologues and dramatic elocution and emotion of every imaginable genre behind them – so that their many dedicated hours, their labors of love could be recognized.
The several dozen honored actors, too numerous to list, represented eight Island theatres. Manoa Valley Theatre (MVT) stole the spotlight with a shining stockpile of 36 Pookela Awards, while Diamond Head Theatre (DHT) and The Actors’ Group (TAG) garnered a respective 21 and 20 Pookelas. Smaller, but stellar theaters that staged some season gems, trailed with single-digit showings, including Kumu Kahua Theatre with 9 and Hawaii Pacific University with 2. Next to Normal and Young Frankenstein were MVT’s golden hits, while DHT raked in kudos for Legally Blonde: The Musical among others, and TAG’s nods came from an even mix of offerings including the phenomenal King Hedley II.
With all of the accolades and excitement, there is a drawback – unlike award-winning movies, there’s no way to go watch the top hits. But we can frequent our diligent Island theaters for another year of shows and masterpieces.