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We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby

Women’s status in the workplace has risen dramatically since the lowpay, “look cute” and “pour your boss coffee” attitude of yesteryear. Diamond Head Theatre pokes fun at that era with “9 to 5,” a rollicking musical featuring tunes by Dolly Parton. Lead actor Jennifer Sojot – actress, mom and sales manager for Oahu Publications-Magazine Division – took a moment to chat with A&S about the show.

A&S: What attracted you to this show?

Sojot: First, I loved the movie (that the musical is based on). It was hilarious, and it’s a really fun story. Then, the idea of being able to do the part (as Violet) with two other women (Jessica Cruz as Doralee and Jody Bill as Judy) in the lead roles seemed like it would be lots of fun. If I’m going to do a show, I want to have a good time. This seemed like it had the potential for that … and I wasn’t wrong!


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Artist Wenpei Li with Jackie Chan. Photo from the Sumie Society of Hawaii

A&S: Do you have a favorite scene?

Sojot: I love them all. It’s such a fun show, from beginning to end. I like the hospital scene (a comedy of errors); I love the lines. It’s fun when the three women unite and are forced to take control. Things slowly unravel, and we have to pull it back together. It’s fun to go off the deep end a little bit.

A&S: Does the ’70s theme translate to a modern audience?

Sojot: Women have made great strides from the ’70s. We stand on the shoulders of those women who went into the workforce and really battled it out. People are much more comfortable now with women in positions of power than they were, but there’s still work to be done. Unfortunately, there are places where women are still subject to discrimination and harassment. This show is obviously really over the top, which makes it fun and funny, but it rings true.

A&S: What can the audience expect?

Sojot: A good time from beginning to end, great performances by a talented cast and a great show put together by a very talented director/choreographer, Tammy Colucci. They can expect the familiar story that they know and love, but with some twists. The play adds to my character, Violet. I have a love interest, Joe (Peter Togawa), who is not in the movie. Plus, the music – the movie is not a musical. The wigs are great, the costumes, the set, the lighting, the band. I can’t say enough great things.

A&S: Anything else? Sojot: Come see the show!

the TICKET stub
9 TO 5
When: Thursday-Sunday through April 14, and April 21
Where: Diamond Head Theatre
Cost: $15-$50
More Info: 733-0274, diamondheadtheatre.com

Chinese Brush Art

Playful, coy or lethal, the characters fashioned by Wenpei Li’s calligraphy brushes offer an absorbing visit to a world of Chinese legendary and operatic characters. Li, who gained renown for his depictions of Beijing Opera figures, also has lent his talent to Chinese anime film The Drunken Beauty, and was selected as a participant in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games International Fine Art Exhibition. Hawaii will have a chance to view his masked battle heros and sword-wielding femme fatales April 15-26 at Honolulu Hale (City Hall, 768-6622), with an artist reception April 16 from 10 a.m. to noon.

The show, “The Splendor of Chinese Brush Painting,” is happening in conjunction with the Sumie Society of Hawaii’s annual sumie (Japanese brush painting) exhibit and marks Li’s U.S. debut. “This is a rare opportunity to experience and enjoy the Chinese brush painting artwork of one of China’s finest contemporary artists,” noted exhibition chairwoman Suzanne Ota.

Paintings You Want To Wear

Glass candleholders, shining koa jewelry boxes, handwoven necklaces and other tempting delights for the eye welcome visitors to The Gallery at Ward Centre (gwcfineart.com, 597-8034). The works are by a co-op of 16 local artists who own the gallery. Walk in through April 24 and you’re greeted with vintage aloha shirts on hangers and curving figures sporting muumuu … on canvas, that is.

“Every month we completely change the gallery around,” says gallery artist Barbara Edelstein, “and every month we feature a gallery artist and a guest artist.”

The gallery artist on display this month, in an exhibit titled “Threads,” is Doug Young, who, along with guest artist Charles Valoroso, creates photorealistic paintings of classic Hawaiian-print fabrics.

Young’s representation of Hawaiian-print dresses were inspired by a friend’s box of 1970s Kodachrome slides, and Valoroso says his aloha shirts and the show “Threads” represent the Aloha Spirit and connection to “family, friends, people and places that form a bond with my past, present and future.”