Centered around the $32-million Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC), in Kahului (tel. 808/242-7469; www.mauiarts.org), the performing arts are alive and well on this island. The MACC remains the island's most prestigious entertainment venue, a first-class center for the visual and performing arts. Bonnie Raitt has performed here, as have Hiroshima, Pearl Jam, Ziggy Marley, Tony Bennett, the American Indian Dance Theatre, the Maui Symphony Orchestra, and Jonny Lang, not to mention the finest in local talent. The center boasts a visual-arts gallery, an outdoor amphitheater, offices, rehearsal space, a 300-seat theater for experimental performances, and a 1,200-seat main theater. The center's activities are well publicized locally, so check the Maui News or ask your hotel concierge what's going on during your visit.
In Search of Hawaiian, Jawaiian & More
Nightlife options on Maui are limited-there are very few clubs on the island; most clubs and bars with entertainment or dancing tend to be located close to resort areas. Since Maui is so spread out, you may find yourself driving a great distance to get to a club that is providing the kind of entertainment you want. Here's a tip: first check out the night life and entertainment options in the major hotels near you. Hotels generally have lobby lounges offering Hawaiian music, soft jazz, or hula shows beginning at sunset. Other music venues are listed.
The best of Hawaiian music can be heard every Wednesday night at 7:30pm at the Napili Kai Beach Resort's indoor amphitheater, thanks to the Grammy-winning Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Concert Series (tel. 888/669-3858; www.slackkey.com). The weekly shows present a side of Hawaii that few visitors ever get to see. Host George Kahumoku, Jr., introduces a new slack-key master every week. Not only is there incredible Hawaiian music and singing, but George and his guest also "talk story" about old Hawaii, music, and Hawaiian culture. Not to be missed.
At the Movies
The 12-screen movie megaplex at the Maui Mall, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave. (tel. 808/249-2222), in Kahului, features current releases. In June, the not-to-be-missed Maui Film Festival ★★★ (tel. 808/572-3456 or 579-9244; www.mauifilmfestival.com) puts on nights of cinema under the stars in Wailea. The Maui Film Festival also presents "Academy House" films for the avant-garde, ultrahip movie buff Wednesday nights at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, 1 Cameron Way (just off Kahului Beach Rd.), Kahului, usually followed by local catering (with bar) and live music and poetry readings.
Film buffs can check the local newspapers to see what's playing at the other theaters around the island: the Kaahumanu Theatres, at the Kaahumanu Center, in Kahului (tel. 808/873-3137); the Kukui Mall Theater, 1819 S. Kihei Rd., in Kihei (tel. 808/874-8624); the Wallace Theaters at the Wharf Cinema Center, 658 Front St., in Lahaina (tel. 808/249-2222); and the Front Street Theatres at the Lahaina Center, 900 Front St. (tel. 808/249-2222).
The Best Place in the World to See a Movie -- Imagine lounging on a comfy beach chair on the island of Maui watching the stars come out in the night sky. As soon as it gets dark enough, the biggest outdoor screen you've ever seen comes to life with a film premiere. This has to be the best place in the entire world to watch movies.
If you're headed to Maui in June, plan your travel dates around the Maui Film Festival (tel. 808/572-3456 or 579-9244; www.mauifilmfestival.com), which always starts the Wednesday before Father's Day. This is an event you won't want to miss. The 5-day festival features nightly films in the "Celestial Cinema," an under-the-stars, open-air "outdoor theater" on the Wailea Golf Course. The event features premieres and special advance screenings on a 50-foot-wide screen in Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Festival organizer and film producer Barry Rivers selects "life-affirming" films that often become box-office hits.
In addition to the 5 days and nights of films and filmmaker panels, there are many other events: a Taste of Chocolate night, a Taste of Wailea (with Maui's top chefs creating exquisite culinary masterpieces), a Starry Night dance party, and a host of other foodie events. For the family, there's a Father's Day concert of contemporary Hawaiian music, a sand-sculpture contest, and picnics. And for those interested in Hawaii culture, the festival presents TheStarShow, where live images of celestial objects are projected onto the screen, as experts in Polynesian astronomy and cultural history take the audience on a tour of the night sky and Polynesian navigational lore.
As Rivers puts it, "rising stars, shooting stars, movie stars, all under the stars."
At the Theater
It's not Broadway, but Maui does have live community theater at the Iao Theater, 68 N. Market St., in Wailuku (tel. 808/242-6969 for the box office and program information or 808/244-8680 for the dinner theater options; www.mauionstage.com). Shows range from locally written productions to well-known plays and musicals.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.