Entertainment in Honoka‘a and Waimea

This region, luckily, attracts musicians, dancers, and performers to its venues big and small. In Honoka‘a, the Honoka‘a People’s Theater (43 Mamane St., 808/775-0000) doubles as an art movie theater (tickets $6 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children) and a live music venue.

The Kahilu Theatre attracts first-rate local and Mainland performers.Built in the 1930s by the Tanimoto family who built several of the other historical theaters on the Big Island, it was and remains the largest theater on the island, with seating capacity of 525 people. In its heyday, it must have been a sight, as plantation workers would pack the building to watch the newest Hollywood films. With the closing of the plantation industry, the theater went into disrepair and closed for a few years. When the theater reopened in the late 1990s, it once again truly became a centerpiece of the community—used by community groups in need of space. Check the schedule online for event listings. A few times a month there are live performances with local musicians as well as semi-popular Mainland groups traveling through the area.

In Waimea, theatergoers will be impressed by the newish (from 1981) structure built by Richard Smart, heir to the Parker ranch, that now houses his private collection of Broadway memorabilia. The Kahilu Theatre (67-1186 Lindsey Rd., Parker Ranch Shopping Center, 808/885-6868) attracts first-rate local and Mainland performers, like the Martha Graham dance company, internationally known jazz musicians, and master ukulele players. Best of all, tickets are reasonably priced and at times even free for the community events. In addition to the usual season schedule, the theater also hosts community performances, such as the Hawaii youth symphony and sometimes the Waimea Community Theater (65-1224 Lindsey Rd., Parker School Theater, 808/885-5818), which has been performing plays and musicals on the Big Island since 1964.

For less formal entertainment, your best bet in Waimea is the Big Island Brewhaus (Hwy. 19 between mile markers 56 and 57 at intersection of Kamamiu St., 808/887-1717) at their Tuesday and Thursday open mic nights or Friday night for live music—usually a local rock band. The crowd is usually on the younger side and the venue is small, so expect to feel a little claustrophobic.

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.

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