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‘Ulalena and ‘Burn’n Love’ close

By Staff | Jun 14, 2018

During a recent visit to Maui Theatre, Darren Lee of “Burn’n Love” saw workers changing the locks and painting over his name in his parking space. PHOTO BY PAUL JANES-BROWN.

LAHAINA – ‘Ulalena, Maui’s signature show produced by the legendary Roy Tokujo of Lahaina Myth and Magic Theatre LLC (LMMT), and “Burn’n Love,” produced by Michael Kattawar of Memphis, TN, through Kattwood LLC, shut their doors on May 11 when, under a court order, technicians flew in from Christie Lites, one of the largest lighting companies in the world, and removed the lights for non-payment of rent.

A spokesperson for Christie Lites reported that lighting payments were delinquent for years.

Kattawar said, “I love Maui. I love the people out there. They all supported us, like the Maui Food Bank supported us, the rental car agencies, the Weinbergs, the hotels, the restaurants, the kama’aina. There just weren’t enough people to come and see those two shows to make it work.”

He went on to say, “I never made money – never made a penny. I’m out $2 million.”

Kattawar said that he and Elvis impersonator Darren Lee, the star of the “Burn’n Love” show, came here four-and-a-half years ago to do an Elvis luau and were approached by LMMT to do a second show in the Maui Theatre.

Theater Manager Dennis Preussler said, “As of June 3, ‘Ulalena is evicted from the Maui Theatre.” PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MAUI THEATRE.

Kattawar and Lee agreed, and “Burn’n Love” was launched.

Tokujo and Kattawar dispute various aspects of the theatre’s finances in recent years and ownership of ‘Ulalena.

Tokujo said, “‘Ulalena was a passion for me, not from a financial point of view. I produced Don Ho, Jim Nabors and many luaus, but there was not a single entity that told the story of Hawaii. ‘Ulalena was that show. It was a testament of how great Hawaii and Hawaiians are.”

“We tried everything we could try, and the average person would have shut this thing down two years ago. It just never made money – never made a penny. I am out about $2 million,” said Kattawar.

Corbett Kalama, vice president of real estate and community affairs for the Weinberg Foundation, the owner of the Maui Theatre, said, “Maui is a special place, and ‘Ulalena is a special show. We have a great deal of concern about these. We are working to make sure all of our properties are up and running. Our intention is to continue to make sure that all our properties are up and functional.”

Lee, the star of “Burn’n Love,” wants to stay on Maui and do an Elvis luau. He is actively negotiating a venue for that show at the time of publication.