Oh my! George Takei is coming to Broadway.
In the 2014 documentary To Be Takei, there’s a scene in which Brad Takei, George’s husband, laughs as he thinks back on simpler times when he envisioned the happy couple enjoying a relaxing retired life by now. Instead, he finds himself energetically globe trotting from engagement to engagement alongside Takei, a septuagenarian who finds the very idea of retirement offensive. “What? Do you retire from life?” the former Star Trek star once said. Now, at the age of 78, the social justice activist and newfound social media icon will be putting on his very own Broadway musical. Allegiance, based on the Takei family’s time in Japanese-American internment camps during WWII, is what he likes to call his “legacy project.”
Image by Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons License
The groundbreaking musical will star Takei as Sam Kimura, a WWII veteran. The story follows Kimura’s journey as he, with the help of his spirit guide sister Kei, recalls the family’s relocation from their California farm to the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming. As they struggle to adjust to their new home, young Sam and Kei find themselves torn between loyalty to their family and allegiance to their country.
It’s a story that’s very close to Takei’s heart. He and his family spent four years in President Roosevelt’s internment camps for Japanese-Americans. “Japanese-Americans—American citizens of Japanese ancestry—were looked on with suspicion and fear and with outright hatred simply because we happened to look like the people that bombed Pearl Harbor,” said Takei.
The musical memoir will begin previews on the Great White Way October 6, and will open at an undisclosed Shubert theater November 8. Featuring a book by Marc Acito, music and lyrics by Jay Kuo, and direction by Stafford Arima, Allegiance has been a long time coming. In 2012, the show had its world premiere at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre.
“The story is universal – people falling in love, getting married, having a family,” Takei toldThe New York Times. “The musical will find an audience because whether you are white, black, Latino, young or old, people can identify with the idea of family and the stresses put on a family, which in this case were enormous.”