Waikiki showroom files for bankruptcy


POSTED: Thursday, October 08, 2009

Royal Hawaiian Showroom LLC, the business that launched “;Waikiki Nei,”; filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

The “;Waikiki Nei”; show, a multimillion-dollar production that debuted on the fourth floor of the Royal Hawaiian Center in summer 2008 after numerous delays, closed down permanently after a few months.

Since July, the showroom has been home to the action-musical “;Heartbeat Hawaii,”; created by retired surgeon Dennis Law. The show, which has a cast of 75 Chinese dancers, martial artists, acrobats and musicians, plays six nights a week.

The Level 4 Nightclub & Ultra Lounge remained open through the year.

In the bankruptcy filing Tuesday, Royal Hawaiian Showroom manager Roy Tokujo listed between $10 million and $50 million in estimated assets and liabilities.

Among the largest creditors are Central Pacific Bank, which says it is owed $5.6 million, and Taisei Construction Co., which says it is owed $4.6 million.

Kamehameha Schools has a claim for $693,259, while show producer Realisations has a claim for $543,944.

Kamehameha Schools filed a complaint in August to gain possession of the property. The process was stopped due to the bankruptcy filing.

Royal Hawaiian Showroom's attorney Jerrold Guben said the company needs time to reorganize.

The company is petitioning for the advance of funds it had before filing for bankruptcy as cash collateral, and approval of $150,000 in financing from partner Japan Sports Management Inc. for operating expenses.

“;Everybody has an interest in making sure this is eventually successful,”; said Guben

A hearing on first-day motions, including approval of the cash collateral and loan, is scheduled for tomorrow.

“;Waikiki Nei,”; which was billed at its opening as one of the most innovative stage shows on Oahu, offered 750 seats. Tickets for the show cost between $49 to $99.

At night, the seats would fold away and the space would be converted into a nightclub lounge with a 4,500-square-foot dance floor.

Tokujo, president of Cove Entertainment and also the creator of the successful 'Ulalena show on Maui, had teamed up with Cirque du Soleil veteran Roger Parent, president of Realisations, to launch “;Waikiki Nei.”;

But the poor economy took its toll on the ticket sales.

Guben said he believes the show was not a good fit for the Royal Hawaiian Center.

“;The show simply didn't fit the venue,”; he said. “;It wasn't the economy in the first go-round. We just couldn't stage it the way it was designed.”;

Guben says the venue has plenty of potential, given that “;Heartbeat Hawaii”; is doing well and the nightclub is still open. The goal is to eventually expand to two shows a day.

“;It's almost a turnkey operation,”; he said. “;If we had two shows a night, we wouldn't be in Chapter 11.”;