Biloxi Blues, the hilarious and heartwarming play by Neil Simon that deals with six army recruits as they come of age during the last days of World War II will open on Jan. 24 and run for three performances at the East Hawaii Cultural Center. The play which is being directed by Larry Reitzer, who recently directed Aladdin Jr. at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, as well as Gypsy at the Palace, follows the six rowdy and uproarious soldiers, including the twenty-year-old Eugene Morris Jerome who is, in no particular order, desperately trying to “fall in love, lose his virginity and not get killed.”
The idea to perform Biloxi Blues came to Reitzer after working with a group of actors on Aladdin. After Aladdin closed, a few of us were trying to figure out a play to do together and Biloxi Blues seemed like a perfect fit. It mixes non-stop hilarity with drama and heart and it “even has a few songs in it” said Reitzer. “It has always been one of my favorite plays and I think Hilo audiences will really enjoy it’s hilarious and touching take on barracks life in 1943.”
Playing the role of the Brooklyn born, Eugene Morris Jerome who is introduced to adulthood, love, and sex through his exposure and experiences at basic training in the murky jungles of Biloxi Mississippi is Ku’uhiapo Jeong who recently starred in the title role of “Aladdin.” Joining him as his nemesis, the eccentric and sadistic Drill Sergeant is Michael Caputo as well as Makoa Kala’i who plays Epstein, the weak-stomached, yet strong-willed Private Epstein whose refusal to compromise his principles of dignity and compassion puts him on a collision course with the discipline-minded and unhinged sergeant Toomey.
Eugene’s fellow group of diverse and outrageous bunkmates include the army-loving, musclebound brute of the barracks, Joseph Wykrowski (Jameson Sato), the immature and raunchy Selridge (Kaeo ‘Blaise’ Cachola), the gangly, goofy and indecisive Carney (James ‘Pono’ O’Connor) and the secretive, yet defiant Hennesy (Theon Weber). Rounding out the cast as the women who teach Eugene about love and sex are Kyra Gomes, Kiana Johnson-Chesebro and Heather Bottom.
Biloxi Blues is rated PG-13 for its strong language and mature subject matter.
If You Go… Have a good show!
Biloxi Blues is playing at the East Hawaii Cultural Center, 141 Kalakaua Street in Hilo will be performed Friday, January 24, at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, January 25, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 26, at 2:00. Tickets are available in person at Basically Books (1672 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo), online at www.brownpapertickets.com and the night of the show (if not sold out) at the door. Venue info: (808) 961-5711.