Allegiance - A New American Musical
I was honored on May 12, 2010 to win an invitation to the SF investor's preview. I have been looking forward to seeing the final product since then, and finally had the chance 10/20/2012, flying down especially for the show. A few key plot items have changed, mostly for the better. The production is superb, the tech adds a lot to the emotional impact, Telly Leung is outstanding in a very demanding role, Paolo Montalban does not get nearly enough credit for his portrayal as the smarmy Mike Matsaoka, and Paul Nakauchi brings out the understated strength of Tatsuo Kimura. George Takei totally nails his two characters, and Lea Salonga is epic as Kei. The chemistry between the leads is unmistakable. On the down side, the orchestra was too loud, and the show bogs down in the last three scenes. Also, I was disappointed in how few of the cast were Japanese or Japanese-American. One thing I found charming is after all her stage triumphs, you would think Lea Salonga wouldn't be embarrassed any more by a very loud and long standing ovation, which she richly deserved.
We attended the Sunday afternoon performance with our two daughters and son-in-law. It was such a wonderful experience. We cried as well as laughed. We were only seven when we experienced friends being removed to internment camps and it left a lasting impression on us. It was good when many of the families returned to our communities, but no one ever talked much about the terrific stress the internment camp experience placed on family and friends. Since then some writers have given us insights into this tragedy, but Allegiance does such a great job of confronting us with the heart wrenching life we forced on all these people. Thank you so much for bringing this to us. It was well worth the 5 hour drive from the San Joaquin Valley for us as well as our children. Edward and Joyce Bergtholdt
Thank you to the creators and performers for a spectacular performance that underscored the difficulties encountered by Japanese-American citizens placed in internment camps during WWII. The acting was perfect and on-cue, and the music as well as set were fantastic. Usually, I am not a musical-kind-of-gal, so usually, I start squirming after about the third song. Not so this time! I was totally mesmerized by the entire performance and everyone truly shone. Thank you for helping raise awareness of this not-very-discussed part of American history so that future generations know about it.
We saw Allegiance Thursday. My hubby bought the T-Shirt and wore it to Book of Mormon on Saturday. Sorry the LA TIMES reviewer didn't get it was a story about family.... set in the camps not the other way around. This could be great with a couple of tweaks. The combat song needs to be a reprise with it being using initially in boot camp as a full production number. The reference to the Hawaiian v mainlanders rivalry is too obscure in the song, but if a full fledged combat training session in boot camp highlights the rivalry and the coming together of disparate groups of internees it would enhance the idea of family working together. The references to the heart shaped mountain need to be enhanced also as the song about it and love are again too vague. But overall we loved the show; we also had time to go to the exhibit at the MOM about the SD Japanese community before the show. That might be a good way enhance the experience. Having a small such exhibit at the foyer of theater of the local Japanese families experiences would get the theatergoers in a proper frame of mind.
I saw ALLEGIANCE a few days ago, and I can't stop thinking about it. I wish every American could see this musical, as while it tells the story of a single family's experience during the Japanese Internment, it highlights many strengths of American culture as it details an episode of our history that has gone largely undiscussed. George Takei was charming as the wise grandfather. Lea Solanga shines as the sister and her beautiful voice. The musical numbers grab you as you take your seat, and the story will keep you thinking as you leave the theater.
I highly recommend taking a trip down to The Old Globe in San Diego to see ALLEGIANCE, A New American Musical. It was superb...the music and lyrics by Jay Kuo exceeded my expectations and the performances by each and every cast member were outstanding. The book, the set and the lighting kept each and every person in the audience engaged, moved and delighted. I predict this play will take Broadway by storm in the near future...so be the first on your block to see it now!! Ron Celona, Artistic Director / Coachella Valley Repertory
Saw Allegiance yesterday afternoon and it is fantastic. All I can say is WOW! My dad's family was interned in Poston, Arizona and my mom's family in Jerome, Arkansas. They were just kids and the memories they shared with my siblings and me were through a child's eyes. I was moved to tears several times as I saw the experience from an adult perspective and how they coped with the situation. I smiled when Ojii-san was on stage as he reminded me of my own grandfather. The performers were outstanding! I hope it will get released as a DVD; I would love to see this again and again. Thank you to all who made this musical possible.
Allegiance was amazing! I attended a Saturday matinee. The play took me to a time in history I had given very limited thought to and revealed the conflicts of the time in an entertaining manner. The comedic timing was perfect, the dramatic turns were riveting, and the singing was on pitch.
Allegiance was FANTASTIC! Close to the end of the performance I had a few tears in my eyes from the emotion I felt coming from the entire cast. This musical, plus George Takei's Autobiography "To the Stars" (shameless plug for him) are making me feel (to a small degree) what it must have been like to be one of the people interred during WWII. I hope that eventually someone films a performance that gets released as a fund raiser DVD or Bly-Ray Disc for the Old Globe Theater and the Japanese-American Museum.
There was not a dry eye in the theater. Lea Salonga's singing was flawless, (the rest of the cast was outstanding as well, she sings over half of the songs). George Takei kept the mood light with his characters and well-timed lines. There is a scene in the second act that is so moving it still chokes me up a little almost a week after seeing this play. It totally belongs in a larger venue, but I'm glad it opened in San Diego or else I would have missed out on this masterpiece.
George Takei, Lea Salonga, and Telly Leung did an extraordinary job portraying the emotional experience of losing their home, their respect, and ultimately their family in this heartwrenching story of ignorance and intolerance in American history. The orchestra and music were superb and excellently connected with your heart. There wasn't a dry eye in the theatre, the entire cast was able to come together and push us to our emotional brink, both highs and lows, and to think about our own allegiances.
I have been to a lot of plays and musicals over the years, but nothing has touched me the way Allegiance has. They've done a marvellous job of covering a complex issue with both intelligence and heart. Both the book and the music soar and the performances are flawless. I left the theater with tears pouring from my eyes. This is a very important piece of American theater.
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