HONOLULU (KHON2) — For the first time in nearly two years, the Kumu Kahua Theater is opening its doors to live audiences for the return of The conversion of Kaʻahumanu.

This is the first show the theater had to cancel when the pandemic hit in March 2020. Since they had no idea how long the shutdown would last, the cast continued to rehearse weekly via Zoom…for a very long time.

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In August 2020, the theater presented two shows digitally. Kumu Kahua Theater General manager Donna Blanchard said it was just actors in Zoom boxes, doing their best in the limited space.

“We thought it was poetic to return to our in-person stage with this show this year, but when we planned our comeback, we had no idea what kind of havoc omicron would wreak,” Blanchard said, “but we’ve chosen to move forward with very limited seating in our space, which has only one air exchange for theater alone.

Unfortunately, two of the original cast members cannot participate in this race. They were replaced by the original series stunt double and an additional actor.

“The actors are very excited about performing in front of an in-person audience, and they’re very emotional about it as well,” Blanchard said. “It’s an intense show…and it’s a momentous opportunity to return to theater after two years and be physically close to each other.”

Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl’s historical drama explores the formal adoption of Christianity in Hawaii. A year after Queen Kaʻahumanu overthrew the traditional kapu system in ancient Hawaii, Lucy Thurston and Sybil Bingham arrived on Oahu in 1820 and immediately attempted their missionary task. Queen Kaʻahumanu has no desire for a new religion and is more interested in their robes. But as Sybil and Lucy persevere, so begins the slow, gradual process of Queen Kaʻahumanu’s conversion.

The conversion of Kaʻahumanu runs Thursday to Sunday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Click here for the list of dates and how to book the ticket.


Proof of vaccination and identity is required upon entry, even if you have already pre-registered your vaccination card with the theatre. Customers must pass a temperature check and answer a short questionnaire. Everyone – except the cast – is required to wear a mask at all times.

*NOTE: If an audience member removes their mask, they stop performance until the situation is resolved. If you must remove your mask, exit the building immediately. Click here for more details.

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Kumu Kahua Theater is working with Olelo TV to provide an option for people who are not comfortable seeing the show in person. Olelo will film during their run and air the show a month later.

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