Allegiance, Musical Tale of WWII Injustice, Opens in CA; Telly Leung, Lea Salonga, George Takei Star

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19 Sep 2012

Lea Salonga and Telly Leung
Lea Salonga and Telly Leung
Photo by Henry DiRocco

The Old Globe production of Allegiance — A New American Musical, charting the lives of Japanese Americans who were placed in concentration camps on U.S. soil during World War II, opens Sept. 19 following previews from Sept. 7. The cast boasts Paolo Montalban, Allie Trimm, Michael K. Lee, Ann Sanders, George Takei, Telly Leung and Tony Award winner Lea Salonga.

Stafford Arima (Carrie, Altar Boyz, London's Ragtime) directs the world-premiere production of the history-inspired original musical by Jay Kuo (composer-lyricist) and Marc Acito, Kuo and Lorenzo Thione (co-librettists). Allegiance plays to Oct. 21 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in San Diego's Old Globe Theatre.

The production features choreography by Andrew Palermo (Ace in regional productions, Kristin Chenoweth at Carnegie Hall and The Frank Loesser Songbook with New York Philharmonic) and music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Lynne Shankel (Broadway's Cry-Baby, Off-Broadway's Summer of '42, Vanities, Altar Boyz, Paper Mill's Once On This Island, the upcoming Bare).

The "epic story of family, love and patriotism set during the Japanese American internment of World War II" is billed this way: "On the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, a meeting with a young journalist forces World War II veteran Sam Kimura [played by Takei, in a dual role later playing a grandfather] to remember his family's relocation from their California farm to the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming. As they struggle to adjust to their new home, Young Sam and his sister Kei [Lea Salonga] find themselves torn between loyalty to their family and allegiance to their country. With its moving score, Allegiance — A New American Musical takes audiences on a journey into our nation's history through the eyes of one American family."

Director Arima told in recent days, "Working on a new musical that is not based on any source material (except for a historical event) allows the authors to make changes without being hampered by its source. The creative team has used the six weeks of rehearsal and preview period to its full advantage and have made some exciting changes to the book and score of Allegiance.

"The entire process was filled with an adventurous spirit of change. As exasperating as all the change was, it was equally exhilarating — songs were cut, scenes re-written, characters' arcs altered, and choreography and staging adjusted all toward the goal of focus and clarity. Change can be scary, but it is necessary in the creation of a new work."

Takei is best known for portraying Mr. Sulu in the "Star Trek" series. He has appeared in more than 40 feature films, on many television series and on stage.


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