"An important show with a phenomenal cast, it deserves to be seen!" - Entertainment Weekly
When USJC Board of Councilors Member George Takei first envisioned the idea of a Japanese American themed musical back in 2008, he never knew if it would ever come to fruition. Eight years later, Allegiance is on Broadway and is loved by those who went to see it!
The musical is "inspired by true events"-- and follows the story of the Kimuras, a Japanese American family dealing with a post-Pearl Harbor America. Allegiance touches on many aspects of the Japanese American condition during World War II-- from fighting for the United States military, to protesting the internment, to keeping the family united.
Starring George Takei himself (known for his role in the original Star Trek series) and Lea Salonga (known for her performances both on Broadway and in Disney movies), this powerful performance was not to be missed.
USJC members, staff and friends gather at the theater under Mr. Takei's photo
USJC members have been enjoying the musical Allegiance--many have seen it multiple times--supporting the show's content and its creator, Member of the USJC Board of Councilors George Takei. On January 10, New York-based Council Members/Leaders Julie Azuma and Susan Onuma hosted a mini-gathering as they brought friends to the theater. They were joined by Associate Member Georgette Furukawa-Martinez, USJC Director of Education Mya Fisher and Communications Manager Shiori Okazaki, who visited from Washington, DC to see the show.
A teaser of the musical in Times Square
The musical is inspired by events that happened to Mr. Takei, who himself stars in it. He brought to the stage the word "gaman," which is featured prominently in the show as the Japanese American characters endure the war, internment and mistreatment, and strive to keep family ties strong.
At the talk back after the show, Mr. Takei shared his experience being interned as a boy, being further relocated because of his family's response to the U.S. government's loyalty questionnaire, and decades later, testifying about it and being part of the movement that led to reparation.
(L-R) Actors Greg Watanabe, Michael K. Lee, Scott Wise, George Takei and Telly Leung at the talk back
During the talk back, the audience also asked Mr. Takei and the other actors what they thought about the prejudice that Muslim immigrants to the United States are now facing. Drawing upon his own experience during the war, Mr. Takei said that "it is uncanny that we are here again now." Actor Michael K. Lee, who plays the character Frankie Suzuki, said, "It is a special experience to be part of Allegiance now, to be able to remind the audience to stand up against social circumstance." Actor Greg Watanabe, who plays Mike Masaoka, drew parallels from history, saying that prejudice against Asian Americans "didn't start with internment; it started as soon as Asians immigrated into the U.S." He added, "we have to stand up and defend our Muslim brothers and sisters."
USJC members and staff with Mr. Watanabe (center), who plays Mike Masaoka