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The man standing on stage looks like George Takei, but when he speaks, it’s not with the mellifluous, warm voice of a famous actor and advocate. His voice is coarse, ragged and grizzled. Instead of a golden Starfleet uniform, he is wearing a drab olive green World War II uniform, with old insignia and medals scattered across his chest.

His name is Sam Kimura, and he is a Japanese American veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Estranged from his family for decades, the sudden news of his sister’s death compels him to “remember the time no one speaks of anymore.”

“All the things that happened, that I’d sooner forget,” Kimura says, and suddenly both he and the audience are plunged into memories of 1941–decades earlier when Sammy Kimura is an all-American high school student body president determined to go places, only to end up in an impossible position, stagnating in an impossible prison.

Check out Racebending.com’s review of Allegiance: A New Musical!

To learn more about Allegiance, visit the official website: http://www.allegiancemusical.com/
You can also like the production on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/allegiancemusical

Reblogged from allegiancemusical  113 notes

When audiences come to see a show and they see a full cast of Asian people on stage, I wonder if it’s difficult for them to connect to that. I wonder if there’s a little bit of a disconnect — ‘Oh, that person is an Asian and a foreigner.’ I think that’s always still something in our American subconscious that I’m hoping shows like ‘Flower Drum Song’ and ‘Allegiance’ can change.

By

Telly Leung

(via ‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei unveils a musical inspired by time in Japanese internment camp)

My father told me, “Don’t do anything that would bring shame to the family.” I was always mindful of that. When I told him I wanted to pursue a career as an actor, my father said, “Look at what you see on television at the movies, is that what you want to be doing? Do you want to make a life out of that?” And I said, “Daddy, I’m going to change it.”

It’s that image that created the perception that made it easier for the government to incarcerate a whole group of people. At that time, in comic books and radio dramas, we were depicted as cutthroat and coldhearted and cruel—unfeeling—or we were wily or suspicious or the buffoon. That was the general perception of Japanese Americans. We weren’t seen as Americans. If someone spoke without an accent, we were exotically Americanized foreigners.

My father knew the importance of the image of Asians in the media and how that shapes perceptions. We were complicit in it at that time: We went out there and rented our faces out and played cruel Japanese soldiers or bumbling Chinese waiters.

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George Takei in an interview with Mother Jones discussing how media representation impacted cultural perceptions of Asian Americans in the United States during World War II, fueling racist attitudes that lead to the Japanese American internment.

Takei is premiering Allegiance: A New American Musical, at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego this month.  The show tells the story of a Japanese American family that experiences incarceration in a concentration camp in Wyoming during World War II, and also co-stars Lea Salonga and Telly Leung.