Author: Steve Roby

Steven Roby is a respected music historian, journalist, and best-selling author. He has written feature articles and reviews for Guitar World, and has been featured in Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and Billboard magazine. Roby is also the Managing Editor of Big Island Music Magazine.

How does an adult musical comedy featuring fuzzy foul-mouthed puppets end a three-week nine-show run? With a packed house and many fans returning for a second time! At last Sunday’s sold-out performance at the Palace Theater, the highly talented cast of Avenue Q gave their final bow to an appreciative crowd. The show won Best Musical, Book, and Score at the 2004 Tony Awards and was filled with an assortment of puppets, people, and a few monsters. The adult-themed humor could be dark at times, but never vulgar. The two-hour musical tells the tale of Princeton, a young unemployed English…

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For more than a decade now, award-winning musician Nathan Aweau has been a familiar figure at the Kahilu Theatre’s annual ‘Ukulele and Slack Key Guitar Festival. Holding down the bottom end with his enormous seven-string bass and occasionally given the spotlight for a song or two at the festival, Aweau finally got his due with his first solo performance at the Waimea venue last Friday and was accompanied by hula dancer Sarah Kamalei Kawakami. The 90-minute show began with an intro by Ka’ea Alapa’i, the morning co-host at KAPA-FM, noting that Aweau is a true jack of all trades. From…

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New Zealand’s Indian Ink Theatre Company returned to the Kahilu Theatre last Monday with their latest production, Paradise or The Impermanence of Ice Cream. In 2020, Indian Ink presented an immersive theater comedy called Mrs. Krishnan’s Party. The plot is more serious this time around and deals with a mass extinction, death, and unfulfilled dreams. But it’s not all doom and gloom, there are many lighthearted moments. The playwriters describe those as “the serious laugh – the opening mouths with laughter to slip ideas in.” The one-man and one vulture play tracks the life and the partial afterlife of Kutisar…

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A look back at roller rink culture Two years and two pants sizes ago (for this reporter), the dance-musical “Rink Life” was scheduled to premiere at the Kahilu Theatre in late March 2020. Two weeks before, I did a phone interview with the show’s producer and artistic director of Lucky Plush Productions, Julia Rhoads. We were both naively optimistic that the negative news wasn’t that serious, but the growing concerns over COVID quickly shut everything down, and the event was canceled. Last Saturday, the pandemic-delayed performance of “Rink Life” finally took place, and a few hours before showtime, Rhoads and…

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Kona trumpeter triumphs with funky blowout Big Island musician Ann Hoku Lyn, and her mighty nine-piece band, served up a mixed bag of old-school funk, R&B, and reggae for an unforgettable show last Thursday at the Kahilu Theatre. With the house lights partially up, some of the audience got in the groove early, finding space to dance without hesitation. Originally from the Marshall Islands, Lyn began playing trumpet in fourth grade. She moved to NYC, where she was a freelance musician for ten years. Lyn’s performed at Madison Square Garden and Jazz at Lincoln Center and has won numerous ASCAP…

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Award-winning artist Raiatea Helm has been called Hawaii’s Songbird for our generation. Once you experience her fabulous falsetto voice and elegant charm, you’ll understand why. This interview took place before her March 19 show at the Kahilu Theatre. We got to talk about a variety of topics including her passion for Hawaiian history. Let’s start with a brief overview of your career. How did you get started? What was your inspiration, that kind of thing, and where are you today? I’m originally from the island of Molokai and growing up there was just the best. I grew up in a…

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