A musical based on the early life of Star Trek star (and everyone’s favorite gay uncle) George Takei will finally take a bow on Broadway in October 2015, after years of waiting for an appropriate theater to become available.
“Allegiance” is a multigenerational tale with two love stories that’s framed by a Japanese-American war veteran looking back on his family’s time in a Wyoming camp. Previews are set to begin on Oct. 6 at a Shubert Theatre still to be announced.
It will mark the first Asian-led cast of a musical on Broadway in more than a decade, since “Flower Drum Song.” David Henry Hwang’s play “Chinglish,” with a predominantly Asian cast, played 109 total performances in 2011-12.
“Allegiance” features music and lyrics by Jay Kuo — which blends Big Band sounds with Japanese folk melodies and brassy Broadway numbers — and a book by Marc Acito, Kuo and Thione. It is being directed by Stafford Arima, who directed “Carrie” and “Altar Boyz” off-Broadway and whose own father was interned in Canada during the war, a dark chapter in American history that not everyone knows.
“I’m always shocked by the number of people I consider to be well informed who, when I tell them about my childhood and growing up behind barbed-wire fences, they are aghast and shocked. They’d never heard of it,” Takei said.
The show had a sold-out premiere in 2012 at the Old Globe in San Diego, starring Takei, Lea Salonga and Telly Leung. So far, only Takei has signed on for the Broadway run but he said “we are working to recreate that.” The producers are Lorenzo Thione and Andrew Treagus.
I’m currently working in San Diego near the Old Globe, as I was two years ago when the show had just wowed audiences. Word of mouth on the show is very strong, and I’m thrilled to see this story brought to life for a wider audience. It’s a powerful journey for an audience. At a time when immigration and “immigrants” are in the forefront of the news, too many forget how terribly innocent Japanese-Americans were treated during WWII.
Here’s a highlight reel from the Old Globe production of Allegiance:
I have to add that I’ve worked with the director, Stafford Arima. Last summer, we collaborated on a production of A Chorus Line for Sacramento Music Circus. Like everything that Stafford touches, the hallmark of the show was it’s completely new approach. (Let’s face it, it had to be. It was A Chorus Line “in the round”). I can freely say that Stafford is universally admired and respected for his creativity and his balanced, confident, almost “zen-like” approach to his actors.
I also recently interviewed the intrepid George Takei for his appearance in the award-winning LGBT musical short film hopefulROMANTIC by Matt Zarley. George was as awesome, warm and wise in real life as he is on the interwebs.
I’m thrilled for all involved in Allegiance. Congrats to George Takei, Stafford Arima and all involved. I can’t wait to see what you give us.
|Working with director Stafford Arima at Sacramento Music Circus|
|Hiding my inner fanboy as I chat with Star Trek|
legend and LGBT hero George Takei (photo: Michael Caprio)