Maui Arts & Entertainment

Mancandy Drag Show Meets Niche with Sold Out Halloween Event

By Andy Gross
October 30, 2021, 2:49 PM HST
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Mancandy Productions. PC: courtesy of Kawai Sellers.

Halloween can be a drag for some in the community, but in a good way, a very good way.

Kawai Sellers is the owner and producer of Mancandy Productions.

He created the company about 13 years ago. 

Sunday night’s performance of “Wicked Little Girls” at Da Playground in Māʻalaea is already sold out and is a tribute to Sellers who found a niche market that was unrepresented and then did something about it.

“At the time there wasn’t any sort of night life for the LGBTQ+ community. The previous owner of Hapa’s decided he would start something for our community. He approached the owner of Gian Don’s restaurant in Kīhei and they worked out an agreement to allow a night a week for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Sellers who is originally from Oʻahu but has lived on Maui since 1992.

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“I’ve been a part of Maui’s Drag scene since I was 18 years old, even though I’ve never performed in drag,” Sellers said with a laugh.

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When asked if parts of the community might be less than accepting of men dressed stylishly and perhaps even provocatively in women’s clothing, Sellers said, “I personally have never experienced people’s attitudes in a negative way. I don’t think that for us on Maui it’s an issue. Individuals have made negative comments on social media but not anything to bat a (false) eyelash at,” he said.

“Māhū have always been a part of Hawaiian culture. It’s not a new thing for us. Yes, I do have a few transgender  women who perform. The shows sell out pretty quickly in big part [due] to the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race,” said Sellers.

Fan of the shows, Frank Aranda said, “It is excellent entertainment and these girls really do give it their all. The shows are a sight to see and Mancandy has a big following in the LGBTQ+ community. I think that combined with the fact that Maui is quite limited in entertainment venues for that community, it is something to be celebrated,” Aranda said.

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He added, “people are hungry for good entertainment and these artists deliver every time.”

“We’ve performed at many different venues all over Maui,” said Sellers.  “Gian Dons, The Cellar, the Maui Theater,  Diamond’s, The Ballroom, and the MACC among others.”

He said his troupe is currently performing the last Sunday of every month at Da Playground.

“We’ve been fortunate to sell out every show,” Sellers said.  “People seem to really enjoy what my girls are doing on stage.”

The current cast includes, Tiari LaRage, Alannah Moneè, Athena, Nikki James, and Adrianna Rose.

Andy Gross
Andy Gross is an experienced journalist who has worked many places both abroad and in Hawaiʻi. He says he has never lost his curiosity, compassion or empathy for the people, the world and the conditions that surround him.
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