Radio funnyman Lanai discovers it takes some fancy footwork to play a DJ on stage in "Grease" at the Army Community Theatre
THERE'S being on stage, and really being on stage for radio and TV personality Lanai.
When it comes to stand-up comedy, it's been no problem. But working with other people, i.e. in Army Community Theatre's production of "Grease," has been a daunting task for a guy who's used to moving on stage of his own free will.
Presented by Army Community Theatre
Place: Richardson Theatre, Fort Shafter
Time: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through May 26
Tickets: $12 to $20
Call: 438-4480 or 438-5230, or visit squareone.org/ACT/tickets.html
In a bit of typecasting, perhaps, Lanai plays radio disc jockey and former Greaser Vince Fontaine, whom we meet in the second act at the dance at Rydell High.
"I was invited to play Vince by musical director Daren Kimura," Lanai said. "I've never done theater, and I've always wanted to do that.
"So far, in rehearsals, it's been a good challenge for me, even though I only have three or four lines. You know, if I could sing and dance like the talented actors I'm working with, I would do more theater. But right now my friends are teasing me, because they're saying I'm totally like my character. Except I don't hit on teenage girls in real life -- although I usually date women younger than me."
Due to some serendipitous timing, Lanai was able to commit to the three-weekend run of "Grease." He's usually booked to do his stand-up on weekends.
"WHILE I'VE always had the theater bug, the hardest thing for me to remember is blocking -- where to stand and where to go. But repetition is everything, so I should get better at it with every performance."
Doing "Grease" has definitely inspired Lanai to expand his onstage work. "I originally co-wrote a TV show that I want to now turn into a play. A couple of celebrities have told me they're willing to help, and I hope we can schedule something next year. ...
"The opportunities from doing this musical have been big. I'll have been in radio for 20 years in November, and I've never gone down this alley before."
He was intimidated at first, Lanai said, but director CoCo Wiel and the cast have been helping him.
"I hope people come out to see this, because there are talented kids here in Hawaii, some who later go on to Broadway, even.
"For instance, there's Kekoa Young, who plays Danny and is in his first play. He's better known as a member of the band Round and Round. And Shawna (Masuda), who's Sandy, I've actually met before, at Macaroni Grill when she sang 'Happy Birthday' to one of my friends.
"And there's Heather Ensley, who plays Marty, the girl I'm hitting on in the play. And I really like Sean Jones as Kenickie. James Kimo Kaona, he's talented, too, and I always watch him when he's doing the hand-jive scene. All of these actors are always on it."
Lanai makes the embarrassing admission that he fell asleep when he saw a production of "Grease" in 1995 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. "I didn't enjoy it at all back then, and now I find myself doing a part in it."