"Allegiance," starring George Takei, best known for portraying Hikaru Sulu on television's "Star Trek," is a musical inspired by his life. As a child, Takei was put into an American internment camp for being Japanese during WWII. Japanese Americans were placed in these camps because their loyalty to the States was questioned.
Takei's story, and those of others, his family and friends similarly interned, are the subject of the first Asian American musical to open on Broadway, and then to come to Los Angeles. All of its questioning politics and lines of allegiance to family, to country, blaze through this fierce and mightily compelling production.
"Allegiance," which opened at the JACCC Aratani Theater in Los Angeles on March 1st, focuses on Japanese American internment camps during WWII, and the struggle by Japanese American to prove their loyalty to the United States. It tells the tale specifically through one family, the Kimuras. Sam Kimura, (played by Ethan Le Phong as a young man and George Takei in his later years) is the protagonist, determined to fight war and sacrifice his life to show loyalty to the U.S. His sister, Kei ( Elena Wang), on the other hand, opposes his wishes and protests the government's attitude towards Japanese Americans.
This musical was directed by Snehal Desai. Costume design is set to depict life around WWII which Japanese Americans lived. The women are dressed in old-fashioned dressesm and the men wear multi-colored attire. Halei Parker is the costume designer to thank for the eye-catching attire on stage.
The cast is phenomenal. At the conclusion of “Allegiance,” the audience cheered loudly, and many were crying, sharing the story of a troubling, difficult and unjust time in American history.
The musical played in Los Angeles until April 1, 2018 at the JACCC Aratani Theater.