New Show, Nightclub on the Horizon for Waikiki

By next summer, travelers bound for Waikiki will have a new show to add to their list of evening diversions. Production executive Roy Tokujo is teaming with Réalisations of Montreal to produce a new show at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center that is slated to open early next summer.  The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center on Waikiki

The show will be staged on the fourth floor of the center, in a space currently undergoing $15 million in renovations that include raising the ceiling to a height of 50 feet to provide space for moving stages, rotating columns, riggings for acrobatic performances and video displays. The 760-seat theater also will feature catwalks so that performers can be suspended over the audience.

The space is being designed with an eye to versatility—each night, once the performances wrap, half of the seating will retract, making way for a nightclub able to accommodate crowds of up to 1,000. The nightclub is planned to be in the style of the MGM Grand's Studio 54, with high-tech videos, sound, lighting and acrobatic performances.

In the meantime, the lobby will have an ultra lounge styled like Tabu, a Las Vegas hot spot, with interactive tables and special drinks and lighting to evoke an upscale, trendy atmosphere.

Roy Tokujo, production executive

The show, currently in development, has a working name of Waikiki Nei and will cover Hawaiian history from the monarchy to modern times. It is being designed to be similar to Ulalena in terms of theatrical style and cultural authenticity, and will be showcased in its own state-of-the-art theater in Lahaina on the island of Maui.

Currently, the storyline for the show is still being finalized. The creative team includes Roger Parent, a former producer of Cirque du Soleil, who also created Ulalena. He will be working with Tokujo and with such cultural resources as Kamehameha Schools to ensure that the show will be authentic and entertaining. (Kamehameha Schools owns the center.) Performers from Hawaii will be cast and then sent to Montreal to learn acrobatics and enhance their acting and dancing skills.

Ticket prices for the show are anticipated to be similar to those for Ulalena, ranging from $49 to $69 for adults and $29 to $49 for children 12 and younger. Tickets will be commissionable for travel agents, and there will be a sales staff dedicated to the show.

Renovations at the RoyalHawaiianShopping Center continue in high gear, with some merchants already in place and a series of openings proceeding on a regular basis until all work wraps up around the middle of 2007. Kamehameha Schools is investing $84 million to renovate the center, which spans three oceanside blocks on

Kalakaua Avenue
.

In addition to creating a more upscale environment, the focus has been on opening up the center to provide a feeling of more spaciousness. One of the areas where this will be most noticeable is at the Royal Grove, a spot that will be both a gathering space and a site featuring free classes and performances. Care also has been taken to provide views from above, both from restaurant seating areas and from other locales. For more information, visit www.shopwaikiki.com.

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