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Posts Tagged ‘broadway’

MACBETH and a Lesson in Courage

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Last night I got a great lesson in courage.  And from a rather unlikely source:

Last night I went to see the brilliant production of Macbeth (starring the always-amazing Alan Cumming) currently running on Broadway.

How can a production of MACBETH be a lesson in courage?


The entire show (except for a few lines) is performed by Alan Cumming.  That’s right.  I MEAN (almost) ALL OF THE ROLES.  And this isn’t a kitschy “let’s to Shakespeare as a one-man show” kind of production.  This was brilliantly thought out, planned and staged.  Incredibly inventive and not gimmicky–even though they used multi-media and technology in ways that surprised me.

But this isn’t a review of the show.  I’ll leave that to those that are qualified theater reviewers.

I want to tell you how Cumming’s performance rocked my world.

He took more risks than I’ve ever seen an actor take on stage.  He was naked (literally, at times) in how he presented the piece. He didn’t shy away from the show’s dark subject matter.  He didn’t break character.  He didn’t act as though he was being cute in a look-what-I-can-do-aren’t-I-being-clever kind of way.

He was willing to take risks that could have been colossal failures.  He screamed.  He whispered.  He wept.  He laughed maniacally.  There were times when I grabbed onto the side of my seat, sinking down and muttering under my breath, “Oh no, Alan. Don’t do that.  They’re all going to laugh!  It’s too risky!” (Thank God I wasn’t directing the show.)

He stood tall.  He bared himself–physically and emotionally–for the sake of the piece.  For the art of the craft.

He put himself on the line to bring the piece–and the artistic vision of everyone involved in this production–to life.

He was courageously vulnerable.

And in my eyes, that makes him a hero.

An artistic hero.

When I was working as/aspiring to be an actor, I wasn’t anywhere near that brave.  I was ridiculously self-conscious,  aware of every move that I made.  I chose to play it safe.  I didn’t want to fail.

And you know what?  I wasn’t successful.  My attempt to “not fail at any cost” was a total failure.

Art is about risks.  But so is life, right?

As a haole from the “the big city” who is working as a Hawaiian musician and teacher, it’s all about risks.  Being who I am and doing what I’m doing is a risk.  Some people will DISLIKE me based on that alone.

And that’s ok.

Because I’m not going to please everyone. And in truth, I’m not trying to please everyone.

I’m trying to be authentic and represent who I am–where I am now as well as the road that’s lead me here.

And I’m trying to be authentic in my sharing of what I’ve been asked to share.

And that’s scary.  That’s really scary.

But it’s totally worth it.

Because when you watch someone like Alan Cumming redefine a classic piece of theater– when you watch him reinvent it and yet honor its roots so beautifully–you can’t help but cheer and rise to your feet at the curtain call.  (And did I mention that he received a standing ovation through not one but THREE curtain calls last night?!)

He was successful in his portrayal.  All of the choices he made/had been directed to make were great.  They worked.  But even if the production had been flawed, he would have been successful in my eyes.

He acted with courage.  He acted with conviction.  He gave himself to the piece.

And allowing yourself to be vulnerable takes courage.

I hope to be that strong when I share a song or story or lesson that I’ve been asked to share.

I hope to represent what I know as bravely as he did.

We owe that much to those that believe in us.  Our directors.  Our teachers.  Our kūpuna.

Because it’s all about them when it comes to the curtain call at the end of the day.

Be pono.  Stand tall.  Share Aloha.

Right on.


jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, uke night, birdland, broadway at birdland, strum, kamaka ukulele

Aloha, gang!

I’m so excited to be a part of this AWESOME EVENING OF ‘UKULELE MUSIC here in NYC on Monday, April 15th!!

Yup.  This one is gonna be GOOD!

Lots of Broadway stars.  Lots of singing.  Lots of strumming.

And all of it the legendary venue, BIRDLAND.

Here’s what they’re saying about it on Facebook: UKE NIGHT! at Birdland on Monday April 15th. Proceeds to be donated to the Barden Family Fund, helping the family of young Daniel Barden who was a victim of the Sandy Hook/Newtown tragedy. Come on out, hear some fine uke-playing on some songs you might not expect and help donate to a very worthy cause.

And please click HERE to access a link to Birdland’s website.

So if you’re going to be in the NYC area, I’d LOVE to see you there!  Great music for a very worthy cause.

(And come on–you know you’re going to need some good tunes to take away the sting of Tax Day, right?!)

Right on.



Monday, April 15th  7:00PM

$25 ticket plus $10 food/drink minimum.

For tickets and reservations: (212) 581-3080



Strummin’ in the City (#54)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

kamaka ukulele, 'ukulele, kamaka, soprano ukulele, lion king, jason poole, strummin' in the city, urban strummer

Kamaka standard (soprano) 'ukulele & a poster for a well-known Broadway show. (NYC 2.28.12)

A lot of folks find it hard to believe that I carry my ‘ukulele with me all the time.

But you never know when you might feel like strumming!

And as Pops is always quick to advise: E ho’omākaukau. Be prepared.

Ah… the life of an urban strummer!

(Do you like the ʻukulele in the photo? Check out for some of the best ʻukuleles on the planet!)


Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

What year did THE BIRD OF PARADISE, a broadway stage play featuring a Hawaiian setting and Hawaiian music (& Hawaiian musicians!), open at Daly’s Theatre in New York City?

A.  1910

B.  1912

C.  1930

D.  1932

• Please submit your answer by posting a reply to this entry on the blog.
• All correct answers will be eligible to win a special email message from me.
• One winner will be randomly chosen at 11:59pm HST.

Will YOU be this week’s lucky winner?

Good Luck!

Aloha Poʻalima! Happy Aloha Friday!

**Crooner Update:

Right on, gang!  Right on!

We had a variety of answers this week.  Love that!  The correct answer is B. 1912.  A giant MAHALO to Ms. Denise Kelton for her additional information about the show being at the Maxine Elliott’s Theatre, too.  According to the IBDB (Internet Broadway Database) the show played at both venues–opening at Daly’s Theatre.  Shortly after opening, it looks like it moved to Maxine Elliott’s Theatre.  I’ll have to do some digging to learn more!

I found a link to an old NY Times article about the show and some of the controversy that surrounded it.  Please click HERE to see the link.  (Note: To read the full article, you’ll need to follow a link to download a PDF.  It’s so cool!!  I love the language used in the article.  Really indicative of the time. Please check it out!)

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct answers is… (Drum roll, please…) KAWAILEHUA!  Congrats, Kawailehua!  You’re this week’s Trivia Superstar!

A giant MAHALO to everyone who “took the challenge” this week and submitted an answer.  I love connecting with you guys on Aloha Friday!  I hope you’ll play along next week, too!

Happy Weekend, gang!

A hui hou…