Folks Operetta Presents “The Flower of Hawaii”

Folks Operetta Presents “The Flower of Hawaii”

More About Folks Operetta Presents “The Flower of Hawaii”

Folks Operetta continues its Reclaimed Voices Series with Paul Ábrahám’s exotic jazz operetta, The Flower of Hawaii. Folks Operetta invites audiences to escape to paradise for this unique celebration of European operetta, American jazz and Hawaiian guitar at Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Ave. from June 29 – July 14. Opening night is Saturday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m. Performances will take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Conducted by Anthony Barrese and directed by Amy Hutchison, The Flower of Hawaii will remind audiences of the Golden Era of Hollywood musicals. Tickets range from $30 - $40. To purchase tickets or for more information, please visit

Inspired by the story of Princess Ka’julani, The Flower of Hawaii spoofs American colonialism, but never takes on that subject too deeply; this is meant to be escapist entertainment with music celebrating the fox trot, waltzes and marches. The libretto features multiple love stories including Laya, a Hawaiian princess, who must choose between the American naval officer she loves and the Hawaiian prince to who she was betrothed as a child. Meanwhile, no less than three other couples must find their way through various romantic complications before all of them arrive at “Happily Ever After.”

Hungarian composer Paul Abrahám (1992 – 1960) combined operetta with jazz, and the result was a string of hugely popular shows: Vicktoria and her Hussar (1930), Flower of Hawaii (1931) and Ball at the Savoy (1932.) Abrahám’s unique blend of European waltzes and American jazz idioms changed the course of operetta. His rise to fame and fortune was swift. Between 1929 and 1932, in addition to three of the most successful operettas of the time, he composed numerous film scores and popular songs. Abrahám’s music was heavily influenced by touring African-American jazz bands that had taken 1920s Berlin and the rest of Europe by storm. As a Jewish composer with a passion for jazz, he embodied everything the Nazis hated. When they came to power in Germany in 1933, he had to flee the country overnight. For the next five years, he continued to work in Vienna and Budapest, composting three more operettas. In 1938, with the German annexation of Austria, the rise of fascism in Hungary, and threat of war, he was compelled to leave for America. Like many other exiles, he had trouble finding meaningful work in the United States. To make matters worse, he also faced serious mental health problems. Abrahám would spend 10 years in the Creedmor Mental Hospital in Queens, New York. After the war, he and his wife returned to Germany, where he lived until his death in 1960.

Tags: local events, theatre, performing arts

Event Details

Date: July 14, 2019
Time: 7:30pm

Stage 773
1225 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago IL 60657

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Folks Operetta

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