Salonga And Takei Bring ALLEGIANCE To New York City
It has only been a few short months since new American musical, ALLEGIANCE, had its first staged reading in Los Angeles, California. Its original stars, Lea Salonga ("Miss Saigon," "Flower Drum Song") and George Takei ("Heroes," "Star Trek"), accompanied by the musical's creators, new cast members and artistic staff, are now bringing ALLEGIANCE to New York City for its second staged reading on Monday, February 22, 2010.
The new musical features music and lyrics by Jay Kuo ("Insignificant Others," "Worlds Apart") and book by Kuo and Lorenzo Thione (who co-produces the musical with Sing Out, Louise! Productions based in San Francisco, California). Songs to be performed in the presentation are arranged by musical director Lynne Shankel ("Altar Boyz," "Cry-Baby"). Direction by Stafford Arima ("Tin Pan Alley Rag," "Altar Boyz").
"ALLEGIANCE is a major musical about a forgotten part of American history," said Takei, who spent his childhood in an internment camp in Arkansas, and was founder of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California.
ALLEGIANCE follows the Omura family, who were forced to leave their home in Salinas, California to move to the Heart Mountain Internment Camp in Wyoming during World War II. Their story reflects the deep conflicts of a nation, and a people divided: father Tatsuo, a successful store owner, resists their unjust internment; mother Kimiko fears for their future, quietly resigns to their fate; older son James volunteers in an all-Japanese army regiment; and younger son Sam yearns for acceptance by and inclusion in America.
The Omura's conflicts mirror the larger rift between the Japanese American Citizens League, which urged cooperation with the internment, and the resisters of the internment, who steadfastly refused to serve a country that had put them in concentration camps. This universal story sheds new light upon a dark, unexplored, and wrenching chapter of American history.
"I had previously done a reading of ALLEGIANCE in Los Angeles ... the reading next Monday is another step forward in its development. The cast is now bigger and there's a lot more music. Some of the material previously performed has now changed, either with additional lyrics or a completely different intention. It's all very exciting, and I'm happy to be part of it," Salonga wrote in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Salonga, who is celebrating her 39th birthday on Monday, will also be part of BROADWAY BACKWARDS 5, an annual benefit concert presented by Broadway Cares/Equity Fight Aids (BC/EFA) at Vivian Beaumont Theatre on Monday, 8 p.m., immediately after ALLEGIANCE's presentation. She is also set to star in her three-week cabaret series at the Café Carlyle on March 9-27, 2010.
Stage actors and singers Marc Ledbetter, Telly Leung, Kevin Gray, Tamlyn Tomita, Michael K. Lee, Phillip Hoffman, Sally Wilfert, Allie Trimm, Paolo Montalban, Clyde Alves, Marie-France Arcilla, Gaelen Gilliland, Austin Ku, Daniel C. Levine, Doan McKenzie, Kasey Marino and Ann Sanders join Salonga and Takei in the New York staged reading of ALLEGIANCE.
ALLEGIANCE, a new American musical, is expected to open on Broadway in 2011 or 2012.