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George Takei On ‘Allegiance’

New Musical Focuses On Japanese American Internment

Above: George Takei stars in the new musical "Allegiance" at the Old Globe Theatre.

Aired 9/17/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST

George Takei, Actor, "Allegiance"

Transcript

"Allegiance" is a musical making its world premiere this week at the Old Globe Theater. It focuses on the Japanese American internment and has Broadway aspirations. George Takei, probably best known to people as Sulu in the original "Star Trek" TV series, describes the play as his "legacy project."

At 75, George Takei has become a social media superstar with nearly 3 million FaceBook followers. He started his FaceBook page last March as a means to create awareness about the musical "Allegiance," and social media celebrity soon followed. (His "Star Trek" following and appearances on Howard Stern helped speed his rise to social media fame.) It's not uncommon for his posts to have tens of thousands of comments and/or shares, and Takei uses his popularity to help promote causes he believes in. The two most prominent ones are raising awareness about the Japanese American internment and gay rights -- two issues that he sees as more closely tied than you might think.

Lea Salonga as Kei Kimura, Telly Leung as Sammy Kimura, George Takei as Ojii-san and Paul Nakauchi as Tatsuo Kimura in the World Premiere of "Allegiance - A New American Musical," with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and book by Marc Acito, Kuo and Lorenzo Thione, directed by Stafford Arima.

The Old Globe Theatre

Above: Lea Salonga as Kei Kimura, Telly Leung as Sammy Kimura, George Takei as Ojii-san and Paul Nakauchi as Tatsuo Kimura in the World Premiere of "Allegiance - A New American Musical," with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and book by Marc Acito, Kuo and Lorenzo Thione, directed by Stafford Arima.

"Allegiance – A New American Musical" is the story of the Kimura family set against the Japanese American internment during World War II. Sixty years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a chance meeting forces WWII veteran Sam Kimura (George Takei in one of his two roles) to remember his family's relocation from their California farm to the Heart Mountain internment camp.

It is directed by Stafford Arima, with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and book by Marc Acito, Kuo and Lorenzo Thione. The production features choreography by Andrew Palermo and music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Lynne Shankel. Here is the Golbe's video introduction to the creative team.

"Allegiance – A New American Musical" will run on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, now through Oct. 21, 2012. Opening night is Sept. 19.

You can find more information about the Japanese American internment at the Globe website and the "Allegiance" website.

And by the way, Takei only mentions "Star Trek" once. Sorry but there were just so many other things to talk about.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | September 19, 2012 at 8:32 a.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

"The two most prominent ones are raising awareness about the Japanese American internment and gay rights -- two issues that he sees as more closely tied than you might think."

I would like to hear him and elaborate to explain (make leaps and bounds in logic) EXACTLY how.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | September 20, 2012 at 11:15 a.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

He does explain if you listen to the interview.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | September 20, 2012 at 4:03 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

I listened now, only his analogy doesn't work. "Incarcerated" by legalism. Heck, he has more rights than I have. I probably couldn't even afford a lawyer!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'malebisse'

malebisse | September 21, 2012 at 8:11 a.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

I would love to see this play in Florida where I live...

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