Virus fears suppress entertainment on the Big Island

  • “Into the Woods,” performed by the Aloha Performing Arts Co., was the last production at Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu. The theater is closed through the end of April with all productions suspended due to concerns over COVID-19. (Stefani Pelletier/Special to West Hawaii Today, file)


  • Kahilu Theatre. (Courtesy / Kahilu Theatre)

In the wake of the Merrie Monarch Festival’s cancellation and the University of Hawaii prohibiting campus events with more than 100 in attendance, theaters and performing arts venues are making adjustments in the way they do business.

The most drastic measures, it appears, are being taken by the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea.


Internationally renowned classical guitarist David Russell postponed upcoming shows in Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and Hawaii — including a March 28 date at the Kahilu. The announcement by Russell’s presenter, U.S. Classic Guitar, said all his dates will be rescheduled.

“What we’re doing right now is working to postpone scheduled events in the next 30 days and reschedule them in the next season,” Deb Goodwin, the Kahilu’s executive director, said.

Goodwin said the Kahilu will honor “refunding, rescheduling (and) exchanging or asking our patrons to donate” the ticket price.

“We’re very grateful for everyone’s patience and perceiving this as a way to support each other in our daily activities, and we’re doing everything we can to keep the arts alive,” she said.

The Waimea theater will remain closed through April 30.

The Aloha Theatre is also closed through the end of April with all productions suspended. The theater’s annual gala scheduled for Saturday has been rescheduled for Saturday.

“We are presently working with partner organizations to postpone or reschedule other upcoming events,” a message on the Aloha Performing Arts Co. website read Thursday. “If you are a ticket holder for any show previously scheduled for March or April, you will hear from us soon regarding rescheduling or refunds.”

Hilo’s Palace Theater has also canceled or postponed events, including “Beauty and the Beast,” the inaugural spring youth musical directed by Larry Reitner, that is now slated to open in June.


The University of Hawaii at Hilo Performing Arts Center has also changed its schedule with all performances through May 12 canceled.

Regal Cinemas, the parent company of the Regal Prince Kuhio 9 Theaters in Hilo, and the Regal Keauhou and Regal Makalapua theaters in Kona, closed all locations effective Wednesday.

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