Last night I went to the opening night of Allegiance. Full disclaimer, I am investing in the show — so my review might be biased compared to my other ones. however given that I invested in it you know two things: 1. you should go see it!!!!2. I must have connected with it otherwise I would not have been involved so it must be good.
Official Blurb: Inspired by the true-life experience of its star George Takei (“Star Trek,” “Heroes”), Allegiance follows one family’s extraordinary journey in this untold American story. A mysterious envelope leads Sam Kimura (Takei) back 60 years to a time when he (played as a young man by Telly Leung — Godspell, “Glee”) and his sister Kei (Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga — Miss Saigon, Mulan) strive to save their family from the wrongful imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Sam enlists in the army to prove the Kimuras’ loyalty, but Kei joins draft resisters fighting for the rights of their people. Their paths take them from the lush farmlands of California to the wastelands of Wyoming to the battlefields of Europe, and their divided loyalties threaten to tear them apart forever. But as long-lost memories are unlocked, Sam finds that it is never too late to forgive and to recognize the redemptive power of love.
My Take: This is a hard topic to tackle and as expected its a powerful and emotional roller coaster on set. A happy fun show it is not. It is a show that does not apologize for pulling at your heartstrings and I guarantee you will have tears in your eyes (i did as the 70 year old man sitting next to me). The best part of the show is Lea Salonga, she is just brilliant and she can sing the phone book for all i care and i would still go watch her. Her song Higher, although doesn’t start as powerful has an amazing ending. Also a highlight the moment when the Hiroshima bomb lands. It is theatrical brilliance and chill inducing. Telly Leung is also amazing, he has a great pure voice that is beautiful. You will come out of the theater, thinking about how these events could have actually happened and amazed at how great they handled it. I actually, having not grown up in the USA was not aware of these Japanese “concentration camps” until i started getting involved in the show, and it was shocking to me. I feel it is an important story to be told. Things that I would improve/wasn’t a total fan of: Of course the show is not perfect, no show is. I think Act 1 is a bit long, Act 2 breezes though. Additionally I’m divided by George Takei. He is an institution and a lot of what he does is really funny, but i don’t know if i was fully absorbed with his performance as i was with Lea, Tully and actually the surprise of the show, which was nurse Hannah, played by Katie Rose Clarke.
Opening night Pics: Opening Night was a lot of fun. Highlight: Talking to Melinda Doolittle, Taye Diggs and of course Lea Salonga!! Some pics below:
- George Takei Makes Impressive Broadway Debut in WWII Musical ‘Allegiance’
- BWW TV: ALLEGIANCE Gets Ready for Broadway – Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and More in Action!
- BWW TV: On Broadway at Last! Meet the Company of ALLEGIANCE; Plus Catch a Sneak Peek!
- This Broadway Season, Diversity Is Front and Center
- In ‘Allegiance,’ Translating a Painful History for Broadway
Review roundup can be found here