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He Leo Aloha Streams From UHM's Kennedy Theatre This October

He Leo Aloha follows the story of a cohort of kānaka maoli students at U.H.M. as they navigate the complexities of love and attraction.

He Leo Aloha Streams From UHM's Kennedy Theatre This October

The University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's Department of Theatre and Dance and Kennedy Theatre are proud to present He Leo Aloha, a world premiere hana keaka (Hawaiian Theatre) production performed exclusively in 'ōlelo Hawai'i (Hawaiian language) written and directed by MFA candidate Kaipulaumakaniolono to open the 2021/2022 Mainstage Season.

He Leo Aloha follows the story of a cohort of kānaka maoli students at U.H.M. as they navigate the complexities of love and attraction, partnerships and conflict. They ultimately discover that a mastery of 'ōlelo Hawai'i and the knowledge of their ancestors has the power to remedy any situation. He Leo Aloha will be streamed online October 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and October 10 at 2:00 p.m. Special Streaming Ticket prices range from $5-$15.

He Leo Aloha follows a group of kānaka maoli students at U.H.M. and their struggles with finding and navigating love and the meaning of true aloha. It incorporates traditional mele (songs) and original oli (chants) throughout the performance to accentuate and highlight the importance of language and the power that it carries. "Although it's a regular story about someone getting caught cheating and then all the friends getting involved, what makes it interesting is they're not going to go gossiping about each other. They're going to turn to traditional mele and really use the insights gathered from those songs we've been singing for generations to figure out what love is and how to love each other better," explains Kaipulaumakaniolono. He continues, "To me, 'true aloha' is to love somebody and want what is best for them regardless of your personal jealousies or your personal ties to them. 'True aloha' lets them do what they need to do for themselves."

A team of accomplished designers supports the production. Faculty members Michelle Bisbee, Scenic Design, and Maile Speetjens, Costume Design, are joined by award-winning undergraduate lighting designer Jonah Bobilin and M.F.A. candidate Claire Treviso, projection design. A 12-piece live band under the direction of Kumu R. Keawe Lopes Jr., shares the stage as yet another character in the production. Kaipulaumakaniolono considers Kumu Lopez the "pillar of mele" in his life, "I've been taught when composing chants that it's important to weave in and cite other chants so people who hear yours know that you know what you're talking about. I wrote to honor Kumu Keawe in that way in a number of my chants,"

He Leo Aloha will be performed entirely in 'ōlelo Hawai'i (Hawaiian language). However, Kaipulaumakaniolono believes that, "regardless of your experience with 'ōlelo Hawai'i, you should be able to appreciate, connect to and understand what's going on with the story. People who don't speak [the languages in] opera still go and appreciate it. It's my personal responsibility to make sure the story can be understood and I'm certain that it will."

The Hawaiian Theatre program was formally established at U.H.M. by Dr. Haili'ōpua Baker in 2014. Lā'ieikawai, its inaugural hana keaka production (written and directed by Dr. Baker), played to sold out audiences on the Kennedy Theatre mainstage in 2014 before touring to Hilo, Hawai'i, Moloka'i, Kaua'i, and Aotearoa/New Zealand and was showcased at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The program's first M.F.A. graduate, Puakahiki Kau'i Kaina Kau wrote and directed Nā Kau a Hi'iaka. It was performed in the David O. McKay Auditorium at Brigham Young University in Lā'ie in 2017. In fall of 2019, Kennedy Theatre premiered 'Au'a 'Ia: Holding On, written and directed by Dr. Baker. It was remounted by invitation off-Broadway in January 2020. He Leo Aloha, in keeping with the Hawaiian Theatre program, aims to reflect and honor the language, traditions, history and values of the Hawaiian community.

For more information about the show visit Tickets to He Leo Aloha are available for purchase online 24/7 at

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