Based on the true story of a hero

The Story

The Kaluaikoolau family. Hawaii State Archives

The Kaluaikoolau family. Hawaii State Archives

Out of the rugged West emerged a Hawaiian cowboy who became a hero.

In 1893, the cowboy Ko'olau fought a rebel militia that had overthrown the Hawaiian monarchy and now wanted to enforce leprosy laws that would have forced his son and him to the leper settlement at Kalaupapa called “the Living Grave.” With more than 50 soldiers and deputies and a Krupp cannon, the militia was confident it could capture Ko'olau who had killed a deputy sheriff. But they hadn’t taken into account Ko'olau’s expertise as a marksman, nor the resolve of his wife Pi'ilani to keep the family together, nor the vast wilderness of Kalalau Valley on Kauai. The play “Legend of Ko'olau” is about love and survival – love and devotion to family and the fight for their survival, despite the decimation of their Polynesian race.

Book tickets

Advisory Board


John D. Waihee

Governor Waihe‘e was the first Native Hawaiian governor since statehood in 1959, and served in that position from 1986 to 1994. He was a lieutenant governor under Hawaii Gov. George Ariyoshi. He’s a 1976 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law.


Kanoemaileokalani Cazimero

is an entertainer, actress and entrepreneur in Honolulu.


Joanne F. Tachibana

is the president of the United Nations Association-USA Hawaii Division and secretary of the Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation based in Honolulu.


Jon Shirota,

a former Maui resident, is the author of the ground-breaking novel “Lucky Come Hawaii.” Shirota, who now resides in Los Angeles, has received several literary awards, including the Kennedy Center Award for the play “Lucky Come Hawaii.”


Mariah K. Young

, a former Maui resident, is a winner of the James D. Houston Award for Western Literature. She holds a Master’s In Creative Writing from the University of California-Riverside and is the Learning Center Advanced Program Coordinator at Pima Community College in Arizona. She is the author of a collection of short stories entitled “Masha’alla and Other Stories.”


From the Audience

- Anthony Sepulveda, Warner Bros. Vice-President, Casting

- Jack Foley, Berkeley poet and radio host

“A must-see!”
- Kumu Hula Hōkūlani Holt-Padilla

Honolulu Magazine picked Legend Of Ko’olau among the “8 Best Things To Do” in November, 2016 in Honolulu.

More than 600 attended a sold-out performance at Sacramento City College’s Performing Arts Theatre on April 10, 2016.

Here’s what the audience said:

“Fabulous show.” — Iwalani Whitmarsh, Sacramento resident.

 “Loved it. A must-see if it comes to your area!” — Veronica Pettibone, Sacramento resident.

 “Absolutely wonderful performance. So glad I went.” — Marilyn Clausse Huddy, Sacramento resident.

 “It was amazing!” — Janet Weisshaar Horowitz, Sacramento resident.

 “Great performance!” — Joanna Viray Lagman- Snyder, Sacramento resident.

More reviews here >>

The Company

Moronai Kanekoa


Mr. Kanekoa, who has acted in the Kauai premiere of the Legend of Ko'olau, has had numerous roles on stage and in the award- winning film The Haumana. He’s a Masters Of Fine Arts graduate in drama from the University of Southern California. He’s a former Maui resident who now lives in Los Angeles.



Monte Scott Perez has been the director at full performances at the Waimea Historic Theatre on Kauai, the Hawaii Theatre in Honolulu and the East West Players David Henry Hwang Theatre in Los Angeles — all to standing ovation audiences. Mr. Perez is an actor who has toured nationally with the late Jack Krugman (Odd Couple, Quincy).

Actor Ocean Kaowili


Mr. Kaowili has acted as King Kalakaua in the film “Princess Ka'iulani” and is a member of the legendary Hawaiian music group “Sons of Hawaii” with Eddie Kamae.

Original Director Keo Woolford


The late Mr. Woolford was the director of the original production of Legend of Ko'olau at the McCoy Theatre at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Nov. 9, 2013. He has directed “Three Year Swim Club,” David Henry Hwang Theatre in Los Angeles Spring 2012, reprised East-West Players Theatre Fall 2012. Actor/writer in one-man play “I- Land” at the Hawaii Theatre. Actor in “The King And I” at the London Palladium, replacing actor Jason Scott Lee. He is the director of the award-winning feature film, “The Haumana” that has premiered in Los Angeles in 2013.

Writer Gary T. Kubota


Mr. Kubota was a crew member aboard the double-hulled sailing canoe Hokule'a through Micronesia in 2007 and is the author of “To Honor Mau: Voyage of the Hokule'a through Micronesia,” written in English, Hawaiian and Satawalese and selected to be in the Hawaiian language library Ulukau.org. He has produced two “Hawaii Specials” on prime time on Hawaii Public Television and has received several recognitions nationally from groups, including the National Press Club and NNA. He has worked at several daily newspapers as a writer and continues to work as a journalist in Honolulu, while keeping his residence on Maui. For five years, he worked as the editor and business manager of the weekly Lahaina News on Maui. Besides being a playwright, he’s a poet and songwriter.

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Click on online ticket sales sites in November for The Legend Of Ko'olau:

Oahu -- Doris Duke Theatre

Nov. 23 7:00pm

Nov. 24 3:00pm

You may also call weekdays during business hours: (808) 532-6097

Kauai -- Porter Pavilion, Kilauea

Nov. 30 or Dec. 1.

Or call (808) 828-2118

The national touring play The Legend Of Ko'olau returns to Hawaii for two days each on Oahu and Kauai.

Selected for creation funding by the National Performance Network of New Orleans, the one- man play about the legendary Hawaiian cowboy Kaluaiko'olau has toured to sold-out audiences in Hawaii and nationally, including the Performing Arts Theatre at Sacramento City College and the David Henry Hwang Theatre in Los Angeles. It was invited by the Hawaii state officials for a special performance at the Kalaupapa National Park on Molokai before survivors of Hansen's Disease and their families.

The story of the Hawaiian cowboy Kaluaiko'olau has been written about by the late novelist Jack London and by poet W.S. Merwin. For the first time, it features this historic figure telling the story in a theatrical drama -- and the drama has received high praise.

Berkeley poet/radio commentator Jack Foley wrote: "Last night Adelle and I saw a remarkable one-man play, The Legend of Ko'olau. Written by Gary T. Kubota, it's the story of the "Hawaiian outlaw cowboy," Kaluaiko'olau and his resistance to political and moral forces he gradually comes to understand are eroding not only himself but the entire Hawaiian people.

"A compassionate man who has worked with lepers, Kaluaiko'olau becomes a leper himself. The play documents his struggle to maintain his sense of dignity and his armed refusal to be treated in the inhumane way that lepers were treated. With his wife and young son he becomes an emblem of resistance-a "legend." But to put it that way is leave out the many humanizing touches playwright Kubota has given the man-his multiple conflicting allegiances, his anger, his humor, his guilt about a murder he felt compelled to commit, his conflicts about religion, and his devotion to his son and wife." For more information, see reviews at legendofkoolau.com