That’s because the new musical, which centers on one family’s experiences in the Japanese-American internment camps during WWII and is inspired in part by Takei’s childhood memories, represents the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for him. “It’s a miraculous event,” he said. “This is something Japanese-Americans don’t talk about, but I’ve made it my mission in life to talk about it.”
It’s not just about highlighting an unpleasant and often forgotten chapter in U.S. history, he added. The story has contemporary relevance too. “Our democracy is very vulnerable. It’s as fallible as people are. We see it today, when a presidential candidate can vilify an entire population of immigrants. It’s this mentality that put us into those prisons.”
The arrival of “Allegiance” on Broadway marks the culmination of seven years of development and a long wait for an available Broadway theater. “It feels like the end of a seven-year pregnancy,” songwriter and co-author Jay Kuo quipped.
The wait made the night an especially happy one for Lea Salonga, who’s knows a thing or two about Broadway openings after her roles in “Miss Saigon” and “Flower Drum Song.” She’s been attached to “Allegiance” for six years.
“I don’t remember Broadway openings feeling this good!” she said.