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Theater scene is bustling


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POSTED: Friday, January 30, 2009

The theater wars continue this weekend with Diamond Head Theatre and The Actors Group (TAG) both opening new productions on Friday and going head-to-head through the weekend.

DHT is presenting the Hawaii premiere of “;Souvenir,”; the based-on-a-true-story tale of Florence Foster Jenkins, a wealthy woman with minimal vocal talent whose self-produced career culminated with a sold-out engagement at Carnegie Hall in 1944.

Think William Hung or Mrs. Miller, who reached #82 on the Hot 100 with an appalling remake of “;Downtown”; in 1968. Then imagine the very talented Stephanie Smart taking on the challenge of playing an indefatigably self-confident singer who couldn't carry a tune if it came with handles.

Larry Paxton, always a great fit with Smart on stage, completes the cast as Jenkins' longtime accompanist, pianist Cosme McMoon.

TAG is upping the ante in “;premiere productions”; this weekend with its world debut of “;Inside Out,”; Hawaii playwright Richard Tillotson's look at the survival of the fittest on a university campus. Four Ph.D. candidates studying “;resource allocation”; in developing countries, with the comfortable detachment provided by academia, find themselves thrust into their own battle for limited resources when funding cuts eliminate three of the four available research grants.

Which one will get the remaining grant, and how far will the most ruthless go to get it?