The stage has always served as a powerful medium for exploring and disseminating dark times in history. Allegiance, a new musical premiering tomorrow at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, explores one of America’s darkest and frequently hidden histories, that of the relocation of thousands of Japanese-American families in internment camps during the Second World War, and does so with an emotional family story, an original score and an all-star cast, including Mr. Sulu himself.
The musical follows several generations of the Kimura family, who, following the Pearl Harbor attacks, are relocated from their California farm to the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming. Each member of the Kimura family has a struggle to deal with: youngest son Sammy Kimura, played by Telly Leung (Wicked, Glee, the Hollywood Bowl cast of Rent), tries to assert his patriotism and loyalty to America, as well as his love for Hannah, a Quaker volunteer at the camp; his older sister Kei, played by Broadway all-star Lea Salonga, is far more critical of the Americans’ policies as well as the council within the camp serving as spokespeople for the Japanese-American internees. The family’s narrative is threaded by the words of Old Sam, or Oiji-San (George Takei!). Jay Kuo composed the music for Allegiance, and Kuo, Lorenzo Thione and Marc Acito (How I Paid for College) wrote the book and Stafford Arima directs.
Following the premiere run in San Diego, Allegiance will move to Broadway at a theatre to be determined for the 2012-2013 Tony season, where, hopefully, George Takei will be put on the path towards an EGOT and eventual global domination. In the clips below, watch the cast and the crew talk about the project, and, just because a video of it exists, watch a Broadway-hungry Takei don a habit and join the cast of Sister Act.