'Waikiki Nei' producer is allowed $150,000 loan


POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Royal Hawaiian Showroom LLC, the producer that launched the now-defunct “;Waikiki Nei,”; will get an infusion of $150,000 to remain open on the top floor of the Royal Hawaiian Center.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris granted the borrowed funds yesterday from Japan Sports Management, a partner of Royal Hawaiian, until another hearing scheduled for Nov. 24.

The Level 4 Nightclub & Ultra Lounge will remain open, without utilities being shut off, for now. Vendors will continue to be paid on a cash-on-delivery basis, and payroll for employees will continue through a contract with Altres. But “;Heartbeat Hawaii,”; an action-musical show that had been playing six nights a week since July, said farewell on Sunday.

The self-funded show produced by Colorado surgeon Dennis Law featured a cast of 75 Chinese dancers, martial artists, musicians and acrobats. Law, in a farewell letter, said economic circumstances made it impractical and unreasonable to continue, blaming the theater's “;indifferent and arrogant landlord.”;

Kamehameha Schools is the owner and landlord of the Royal Hawaiian Center.

Law, in his letter, said the show's title song, “;Hawaii Is the World,”; reflected the show's celebration of cultural fusion although it was certain to “;irk the minority of hard-core traditionalists.”;

A hula number from the show was initially eliminated after protest from some members of the Hawaiian community due to its lack of authenticity.

“;'Heartbeat Hawaii' leaves with sadness that there has been a greatly lost opportunity,”; Law said.

Members of the cast on work visas are expected to depart by Nov. 5, according to court documents.

Jerrold Guben, attorney for the Royal Hawaiian Showroom, said another substitute show will be announced in the next week or two.

Roy Tokujo, manager of Royal Hawaiian Showroom LLC, originally debuted “;Waikiki Nei”; on the top floor of the center, a narrative show telling the history of Hawaii while featuring acrobatics in the style of Cirque du Soleil.

But the show closed down after only a few months.

Royal Hawaiian Showroom LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last month, listing 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, which filed a complaint in August to repossess the property, has a claim for $693,259 for lease payments, utilities and tile-remodeling work.