Legends in Concert’s popular “Rock-a-Hula” show, the largest Hawaiian show currently running in Waikiki, has a number of different ticket options: show only, show plus a cocktail, a luau buffet, and stage-side dining. But for the ultimate “first class” experience, the Rock-a-Hula Green Room Dinner & Show package can’t be beat.
It starts when you’re given a specially designed backstage pass and walk the red carpet into the Royal Hawaiian Theater, past a line of hula dancers welcoming you. You’re then escorted to the Green Room — where even the champagne is green. As you relax on the plush sofas, you can enjoy the tasty pupus (hors d’oeuvres) and chat to your fellow guests. One of that evening’s star entertainers will also drop by for a photo op.
Next comes a really fun part; a backstage tour. If you’ve only seen the show from out front, it’s fascinating to get a look behind the scenes; where the costumes are laid out for quick changes, what that huge taiko drum looks like up close, what the performers see when they’re looking out at the audience. It gives you a greater appreciation for the work that goes into putting on a very complex production.
Then it’s time for dinner, stageside. You’ll find the salad has a little something extra; a Maine lobster (if you’re not sure how to crack it open, the wait staff will do it for you). Followed by a steak-and-salmon course, with vegetables and mashed potato. And then dessert; pineapple gelato with macadamia nut crumble and toasted coconut. Everything’s well prepared, and good to the last bite.
And now: it’s show time! This is when you’ll really appreciate the stageside seating, which gets you up close and personal (and, if you’re an Elvis fan, it gives you a better shot at getting a lei from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll). It’s a Legends in Concert show, but it’s also a Hawaiian show, so who better to open it than Elvis, with his many connections to the islands? Johnny Fortuno is a first rate King, who has fun with the songs and clearly enjoys interacting with the audience. In his first appearance in the show, he draws on songs from Elvis’ Hawaiian films: “Drums of the Islands,” “Rock-a-Hula,” and “Blue Hawaii.” Elvis fans take note: other artists in the show change over time, but there’s always an Elvis in this production.
Next up is Elisa Furr as Celine Dion. She’s got a fabulous voice, and fabulous outfits to match. Her set opens with “I Drove All Night,” includes a medley of “Because You Love Me”/“Power of Love”/“To Love You More,” as well as “I’m Alive.” And of course the set would not be complete without her signature song, “My Heart Will Go On,” with Furr in a stunning dress.
A fire-knife dancer is next on the bill; always a big crowd pleaser. Then it’s time for Michael Jackson, portrayed by Corey Melton, who has the requisite dance moves down to perfection. The moonwalk, the spangled glove, “Smooth Criminal,” the ghouls of “Thriller,” and “Billie Jean” make this is an especially exciting segment. Note that each artist is accompanied by an energetic team of dancers as well, changing costume to suit the mood.
Elvis’ legendary 1973 “Aloha From Hawaii” concert also gets a nod. Now Fortuno is jumpsuit clad, delivering a powerhouse set that includes “Burning Love” (also featured in the Elvis-themed Disney film “Lilo & Stitch”), “I’ll Remember You,” by Hawaiian singer-songwriter Kui Lee, “Suspicious Minds,” during which Elvis makes the rounds in the audience, and concluding with a dramatic “My Way.”
The entire cast assembles on stage to sing the final numbers, “We Are the World” and inviting the audience to sing along on “Aloha Oe,” a great finish to a dazzling production. You’re then invited to meet the cast in the lobby, where they’ll pose for photos and sign autographs.
The Green Room package is the most expensive ticket option. It’s an excellent choice for an extra-special occasion, and would make a terrific gift for an Elvis, Celine, or Michael Jackson fan. Or why not decide to treat yourself? Everybody deserves to experience a little luxury now and then.
Gillian Gaar has written about music, entertainment, pop culture, and travel for numerous outlets, including Mojo, Rolling Stone, the Seattle Times, and Mapquest, among others. Her favorite destinations include Hawaii and London, and she loves seeking out Elvis sites in Memphis, Beatles sites in Liverpool, and grunge sites all over the Pacific Northwest. She is the author of 16 books and was a contributor to “The Stranger Guide to Seattle.”