Director settles
on his ‘Beauty’

The auditions for the role of Belle drew a field of hopefuls that one person close to the casting process described as ranging from high school students to "women pushing 40." Guest director David Spangethal eventually chose 18-year-old Shawna Masuda as his leading lady and co-star in Diamond Head Theatre's production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."

The show opens July 15 and looks to be the hot ticket of summer in local theater. Two matinees were added to the schedule before Spangethal finished casting. With five more shows added after that, "Beauty" now runs through Sunday, Aug. 7.

Spangethal is choreographing the show as well as directing and starring in it. His choices in other key roles include Douglas Scheer as Lumiere, Jimi Wheeler as Gaston, Pamela Young as Madame de la Grande Bouche, Dennis Proulx as Cogsworth and Devon Guard as Babette.

Elizabeth "Bit" Harrison, a seductive scene-stealer in DHT's spring production of "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum," is doing something in "Beauty" that involves "flying" -- but not like she did in DHT's "Peter Pan."

DHT veteran Emmett Yoshioka is the musical director, and with Mikel Humerickhouse as the sound designer, the audio balance between Yoshioka's musicians and Spangethal's singers should be as good as it gets in Honolulu.

Want wholesome unpretentious G-rated musical theater, Honolulu? This is it.

» What: Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," presented by Diamond Head Theatre.
» Where: 520 Makapuu Avenue
» When: Opens at 8 p.m. July 15 and continues with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 4 p.m. Sunday, through August 7. Saturday matinee performances at 3 p.m. July 23 and 30 and August 6.
» Tickets: $12-$42 (discounts available for full-time students, active duty military w/ID, and people 62 and older).
» Call: 733-0274 or buy online at www.diamondtheatre.com

Season for Shakespeare

With the theme "Winter into Summer," the 2005 Hawaii Shakespeare Festival will present three of the Bard's famous plays: "A Winter's Tale," "Romeo and Juliet" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Here's a brief synopsis for those whose memories are a bit foggy:

"The Winter's Tale": R. Kevin Doyle directs one of Shakespeare's most delightfully odd plays: in the first half, a tragedy; the second, a comedy. King Leontes, in a fit of jealousy, banishes his infant daughter and, in the process, loses the rest of his family until that which was lost is found. Runs 7:30 p.m. Friday, and July 13 and 23, and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and July 24.

"Romeo and Juliet": Directed by Tony Pisculli, this timeless tale of love, youth and swordplay will also feature live percussion from Damned Spot Drums. Runs 7:30 p.m. Saturday and July 15, 20, 21 and 29; and 3:30 p.m. Sunday and July 16 and 30.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream": One of Shakespeare's best-loved comedies, directed by Harry Wong III, it is a tangled tale of four lovers at cross-purposes. Runs 7:30 p.m. July 16, 22, 28, 30; and 3:30 p.m. July 17, July 23 and 31.

» Place: Kennedy Theater's Earle Ernst Lab Theatre at the University of Hawaii at Manoa
» Tickets: $42 season ticket; or per show $18 general, $16 seniors and military, $10 for students, or $14 group rate (10 or more tickets for one show)
» Call: 550-TIKS (8457) or online at www.hawaiishakes.com

"Murder I Do"

A simple wedding turns into a murderous affair, in the Murder Mystery Players' new comedy. Andrew Meader directs the story of a loveless couple brought together by a potential business merger between their families. The wedding almost doesn't happen when the groom's cousin threatens to reveal some damaging secrets unless the nuptials are called off. The cousin, however, is shot just before the ceremony, and the slightly inebriated reverend (who just happens to be a part-time detective) starts questioning the suspects. Performances of this interactive murder mystery includes dinner, and audience members have a chance to win prizes and guess who did what to whom.

» Place: Dave & Buster's, Ward Entertainment Complex
» Time: 7 p.m. Saturday, July 15 and 23
» Tickets: $34.95 plus tax and gratuity
» Call: 589-2215

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