By Lumen Castaneda
New York City — World War II was declared by Japan. The Japanese in the west coast of the United States were rounded up by the American government for fear of their allegiance to the mother country. This is the plot of the Broadway show Allegiance which revolves on the stand that the family took when a questionnaire was passed among all the internees questioning their loyalty. Was it to America or to Japan? It is true of what transpired in those times of war even in America.
It features Lea Salonga (of Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, the Flower Drum Song, among others) in the lead role of Kei Kimura, the daughter of a Japanese family with George Takei (of the Wash, Year of the Dragon, Fly Blackbird, among others, and although this is Takei’s Broadway debut, he is best known as Mr. Sulu in Star Trek) as Sam Kimura, the grandfather of the Kimura family who were among the 120,000 Japanese families rounded up in San Francisco and brought to a camping site, Heart Mountain in Wyoming.
The actors led by Lea Salonga, with her lovely singing voice and her polished acting is commendable. She is ably supported by Telly Leung, (from Godspell, Rent, Wicked, among others) as Sammy Kimura, (who was in the world premiere of Allegiance in 2012 at the Old Globe in San Diego) as the hard headed, principled brother of Kei. He enlisted himself in the army and became a hero but became bitter after coming home and learning that Kei married the man he considered a traitor to their cause. The cast, from the father of the Kimura family, the American nurse, the friends and the other internees played their part well.
The set is not elaborate as to the scenes depicted in the story. It uses only movable wooden shelves with backgrounds of mountains and bombs bursting. The set is very minimal in its entirety.
Costumes are reflective of that era in the story: dresses, blouses and skirts for the ladies, t-shirts, shirts, long pants and suits for the men.
Music is provided by an orchestra, songs are uplifting and fits the story well. Allegiance is emotional and worth your time. Catch it at Longacre Theatre on 48th Street until February 14, 2016. (Feature photo by Henry DiRocco)