Rock Opera Tells Story of Election Contest Between Kalākaua and Emma

Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi announces their upcoming hōʻike, Kū I Ka Mana, which will share the drama and political intrigue behind the election of 1874 between King David Kalākaua and Queen Emma Rooke, as the death of King William Charles Lunalilo left the Kingdom of Hawai‘i without an appointed successor to the throne.

Two shows are open to the public—Thursday and Friday, March 15 and 16, 2018, at 6 p.m. in Koaiʻa Gymnasium on the KS Hawaiʻi campus. Tickets are $5 and available for purchase online, at the door on the night of the performance, or at the high school office or Student Activities Center after school from 3 to 4 p.m. on school days.

Funds raised from hōʻike assist students with travel costs for participation in worldwide events, including performances at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Kū I Ka Mana dramatizes in music and dance the events leading up to the election of 1874 after the death of William Charles Lunalilo left the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi without an appointed successor to the throne.

In the running are Queen Emma, beloved by the people, and the charismatic David Kalākaua. In this telling, Bernice Pauahi Bishop also considers being part of the election, having second thoughts about having refused the crown when offered to her by Lot (Kamehameha V) before his death. The results of the election would have lasting repercussions on the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, setting the stage for many of the events that have shaped the history of the state.

Kū I Ka Mana will be presented as a rock opera in two acts with libretto by theater Kumu Eric Stack and music by Choir Director Herb Mahelona. The entire production is designed around a Steampunk theme in keeping with the genre of music. The production will be presented in English and Hawaiian.

Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i High School presents its hōʻike annually in the spring as an all-school event. All high school students participate in the production as actors, dancers, musicians or crew. This year, the production will also feature the KSH Elementary School Keiki Choir and the Mamalahoe Chapter of the Kamehameha Alumni Chorus.

All hōʻike productions focus on some aspect of Hawaiian history or culture presented to the public with the goal to educate our haumāna and to share with the community. It is a unique opportunity to celebrate Hawaiian culture, history and language and to instill pride and appreciation for things Hawaiian.

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