Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Manoa Valley Theatre: Hawaii's Off-Broadway Playhouse

The walkway to the Manoa Valley Theatre crosses through a former
church cemetery. (photos credit: TheHopefulTraveler)
After reviewing 'Spring Awakening' this week, this gives me the opportunity publish a post about Manoa Valley Theatre. The venue bills itself as "Honolulu's 150-Seat, Off-Broadway Playhouse" and that is for the most part true. This complements the productions at Diamond Head Theatre, also located in Honolulu, which often presents local premieres and revivals of big-budget Broadway musicals. Both theatre companies however can and have presented both Broadway and off-Broadway productions.

MVT was founded in 1969 by graduate students of the University of Hawaii as the Hawaii Performing Arts Company. The Manoa Valley Theatre name was not adopted until the company's second decade and named for the lush, green valley where their venue is located.

Manoa Valley Theatre presents an annual six-show season. The 2011-2012 season includes Hawaii premieres of 'The 39 Steps,' 'God of Carnage,' and 'Spring Awakening'. 'Little Shop of Horrors,' 'Dividing the Estate' and 'Honk!' make up the balance of the current season.

The versatile auditorium can be accommodated to host productions
with traditional, in-the-round or cabaret seating. Pictured above is
the seats along the right of the auditorium. On stage is the set for their
production of 'Spring Awakening.'
The theatre company occupies land on which a former church stood and evidence that remains is the cemetery and church bell monument that fronts the theatre facilities. Seating for each show can be different as required by the production requirements. Audiences should always inquire if the seating is traditional or in-the-round or cabaret. None of the seating is reserved so it's first come first served with subscribers allowed priority entry.

I used to be a subscriber of Manoa Valley Theatre but due to cost of subscriptions, play selections and their reliance on cabaret type and audience participation productions, I opted to only attend select productions. As much as I love theater I made the difficult choice of subscribing to only one of Hawaii's two major theatre companies. Both Manoa Valley Theatre and Diamond Head Theatre offers the opportunity for local audiences to see New York productions once the rights become available.

Performances usually run evenings Thursdays to Saturdays and matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. The theatre has no parking facility so as a courtesy audiences are allowed to park in stalls near East Manoa Road at the neighboring Manoa Marketplace shopping center.

Visit or call 808-988-6131 for more info. The theatre is located at 2833 East Manoa Road in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In lieu of a marquee, banners announce the current productions at
Manoa Valley Theatre.


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