Want to visit one of the best live shows in Hawaii? Then I highly recommend Rock-A-Hula Show on Oahu, which is probably Waikiki’s best kept secret. In all my years traveling to Hawaii, I have never seen it advertised or promoted, but it is so entertaining that you have to give it a try. It even features two royalty – Elvis, the King, and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Yes, when in Oahu you must visit Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head, you must dine at Duke’s on Waikiki, you must check out the surfing on the North Shore – and you must definitely visit Rock-A-Hula. It is good and unforgettable. What a fun night! Here is where you will notice a wave of excitement in paradise.
The show consists of live Rock-A-Hula orchestras, hula dancers, singers, an awesome Elvis impersonator named Johnny Fortuno, and much more, who all convey Hawaiian history and travel starting from the 1920s through present days. The show begins with old photos and news movies showing the days of the historic boats, with excellent footage on the two big screens, while the hula dancers give a lively performance. My favorite part of the show covered the ’50s, with cool vintage movie posters showing some of the famous movies shot in Hawaii – including Blue Hawaii, South PacificAnd the From here forever.
Hula dancers, accompanied by a live Rock-A-Hula orchestra, often change up their costumes, and the joy they emit is wildly infectious. Both male and female hula dancers typically scream, shriek, and make loud noises as they perform — and the chorus here is no exception, whether they’re performing in “My Little Grass Shack” or “Aloha Oe, probably” the most famous Hawaiian song of all time. (Written by the incomparable Hawaiian Queen Lili’uokalani when she was imprisoned at Iolani Palace).
And yes, there is even a fire dancer.
Of course, what would Hawaii be without Elvis? A brilliant impersonator named Johnny Fortuno made several costume changes, including one the white “American Eagle” jumpsuit that King wore on his 1973 Hawaii TV special, which was broadcast by satellite to one of the biggest audiences ever, in that time. Mr. Fortuno bears an uncanny resemblance to Elvis, with jet-black hair, and a handsome, chiseled face, and you’ll make you wear the “stock-sized” Elvis suit he wears. Mr. Fortuno has been impersonating Elvis here for 11 years and he has named everything, right down to the sound, the moves, especially the karate when the songs are over. Often, as he sings, the screens light up with real scenes from Elvis’ films, showing him in various places in Hawaii.
Here’s another thing.
In fact, in the lobby after the show is a small display of one of the actual receipts from the IC Costume Company in Hollywood, for $5,190 for various suits and silk scarves, signed by Vernon Presley, Elvis’ father, on January 24, 1973. Charming!
Other highlights of the show include the beautiful performance “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by the late singer Eze, and Tahitian dancers performing the local tamiro dance, the sexiest dance of all time. The goal of the dance is to repeat the mating of birds in flight, and all the joyful transformations of drumming, banging and banging are performed. Another highlight – from Pop – a Michael Jackson impersonator who performs a lot of songs – has got the look and moonwalk pat.
After the show, there’s a great “meet and greet” with the actors in the lobby, where you can take pictures.
I highly suggest buying dinner show tickets. You’ll have an excellent four-course dinner brilliantly presented, featuring lobster salad, goat cheese, beef tenderloin, swordfish and pineapple gelato with coconut macaron. The chef here is from France, and it shows.
VIP tickets ($151) include pupus and mai tais at the VIP Lounge reception, followed by dinner and a show at your theater table. The luau show costs $113, and it has mezzanine seats.
It’s all the perfect exclamation point for your stay in paradise.
For more information on y Wanderlust trips, please follow me on Instagram at @DebbiKickham.