I'm at the Hawaii Theater, and I can't believe my eyes. In front
of me are 3 gorgeous women that need no introduction... Carole
Kai, Melveen Leed and Nohelani "Nohe" Cypriano. They are
the female leaders of the entertainment industry in Hawaii, known
collectively as the Local Divas.
Loyal Garner made up the fourth member of this elite group of
artists. Sadly, she passed away this November. Her singing
talents and warm personality earned her the memorable title of
"Hawaii's Lady of Love" and will be missed by all who were
familiar with her hit songs. My personal favorite? Blind man
in the Bleachers.
I am here to watch the Divas rehearse for their upcoming concert titled
"This One's for You, Loyal". They will be performing on
December 19 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel's Hawaii Ballroom from 7:30 pm
to 9:30 pm. The original show (shaped and directed by Loyal
herself) was scheduled for November 29th and was rescheduled after
Loyal's passing. This performance will be an heartfelt tribute to
the life and times of Hawaii legend Loyal Garner from her closest
Mel Cabang, though
not an official Diva yet, will be offering his comic wit to December
19ths concert audience as well. He has been close friends with the
ladies for many years, and after trading smiles, hugs, and verbal quips
he's ready to start rehearsing.
The sound of an
ABBA song fills the room as 3 graceful women start to swirl on
stage. They are being choreographed by Peter Rockford "Tau"
Espiritu of Tau Dance Theater in Aiea. He started the theater in
the early 1990's, and really got it moving in 1997. Since then, he
and his group have been cranking out show after show and is now at the
forefront of Hawaii's performing arts and theater community. Tau
lends his talent for dance and stage direction to this rehearsal, giving
a small pointer here and a teeny instruction there to the Divas.
His method is laid back and his effect is subtle, but it certainly seems
to work as the girls (and Mel too!) work the stage to perfection.
The question is, 1) is Tau a great director? or 2) are the Divas just
that good? The answer, 3) all of the above.
individuals get together, they make things look so easy. The
session goes on without any major glitches and only stops when one of
the gang thinks up another joke to throw in to the routine. I
can't stop laughing, as each of the four try to top one another with a
punchline, pratfall, or funny face.
Seeing these four get together is like seeing four high school buddies
interacting together. As I share laugh after laugh with this wild
bunch, it becomes clear to me that they aren't so much a
"group" as they are a family. The closeness is evident,
and the comradeship is obvious. These women have FUN together...
throw in Mel Cabang and it becomes a riot.
the crazy one...", Melveen says as she goes over a comedy cab
driver routine with Mel. She can definitely hold her own when it
comes to comedy, and catches Mel off-guard with a burst of quick ad-lib
one-liners. "That's some great stuff Melveen", Mel says
as tries in vain to stop chuckling at Melveen's immigrant taxi cab
Carole Kai takes a dive on the floor for the team... The pratfall (one
of her own improvisational ideas) effectively stops the rehearsal as we
all can't stop laughing. She's wearing an expensive business suit
too (someone get that girl a lint brush!) Seems she's been hanging
around Augie and Lanai quite a bit lately (She produces Jan Ken Po which
airs every Sunday), and it's beginning to show. We quiet down only
to see if she's alright, then bust out laughing again once she starts
brushing floor dirt and dust mice off of her skirt.
When the divas
finally recover from Carole's >splat<, Nohe begins to sing along
with the taped soundtrack. Her voice sounds so great, even when
she's just 'messing around' at rehearsal. Instantly, I'm reminded
of why she possesses multiple Hoku awards. "Ey, no one told
us there would be cameras today! I'm not dressed up like Carole
is! " That's okay Nohe, you're still a beauty and your
voice is no ka oi!
What more can I say about these women? Beautiful, talented, funny,
nice... The list goes on and on. Each member has achieved success on her
own. Each member is in fact a beloved part of entertainment in
Hawaii. On December 19th at the Sheraton Waikiki Hawaii Ballroom,
these women will be showcasing their ample skills and aloha.
Portions of the ticket sales will go towards the Loyal Garner Medical
Fund, to take care of some of the tremendous costs incurred by Loyal's
treatments. If you want to be entertained "Diva Style"
and feel like a part of the family, come down to the show on the 19th...
Humor, Song, Memories and Emotions will be traded that Wednesday
night. Don't miss a minute of it! If you need tickets,
please call 922-4422 today for best seating. This one's selling
out fast. From what I saw today, the show will definitely be a
A sneak peek of "This One's for You,