The Musical’s Producer Shares the Fascinating Back Story

Alan Suemori
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Editor’s note:  Dr. Mark Mugiishi’s entire professional life has been dedicated to healing through medicine. A general surgeon whose specialty is cancer procedures, Mugiishi also serves as associate chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Hawai‘i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine as well as chief medical officer for HMSA — Hawaii Medical Services Association. In 2009, however, Mugiishi took a giant leap of faith into a field in which he had no prior experience or real knowledge. Believing strongly in the story it sought to tell and trusting his heart, Mugiishi signed on as the producer of “Allegiance,” a musical based on the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The musical was written by Jay Kuo, Lorenzo Thione and Marc Acito and starred George Takei, Lea Salonga and Telly Leung. “Allegiance” opened in New York City in 2016. It was the first Broadway production to be written, directed and composed by Asian Americans.

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