NEW YORK — A musical inspired by veteran actor George Takei’s childhood experiences in a World War II internment camp will open on Broadway on Nov. 8 in New York.
Takei, known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” television series as well as other films, said he hopes “Allegiance — A New Musical” will advance his lifelong goal of educating the public about a painful chapter in American history.
“We have to finish the nice, long, successful run,” the 78-year-old Takei told Kyodo News before the musical’s Oct. 6 opening at the Longacre Theatre. The New York performances follow an extended run on the West Coast in 2012. Takei also spoke about future plans for “Allegiance.”
“We will organize a road company that will travel through the U.S.,” he said.
In February 1942 — three months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor — President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, ordering the round-up and incarceration of 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast of the United States. Deemed a threat to national security, they were sent to remote camps in 10 locations in seven states as far east as Arkansas.
Takei, then 5 years old, and his family were living in Los Angeles at the time. He and his parents and siblings were initially transported to the Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas. Their family was later transferred to the Tule Lake Relocation Center in Northern California, where living conditions were harsher for people who were deemed “disloyal.” Takei’s parents were among those considered “disloyal” because of how they answered questions on a loyalty questionnaire.
The musical portrays confrontation, dispersal and reconciliation in the family of “Sammy,” a young Japanese American played by Telly Leung, and his sister “Kei,” played by Lea Salonga, who received a Tony Award for Best Actress for her role in the musical, “Miss Saigon.” Takei has a part in the musical, as well.
“Allegiance” completed a two-month-long run at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 2012, which was a record for the theater.