George Takei has been part of the Center Theatre Group family of donors for decades, supporting productions as an Artistic Director’s Circle member along with his husband, Brad Takei, and participating in fundraisers and other donor events. In October 2012, Center Theatre Group donors had a chance to show their support for him in turn.
Three years ago this month, one of CTG’s first donor travel experiences brought a group of nearly 40 donors and staff members to see Allegiance—A New American Musical at The Old Globe in San Diego. Takei stars in Allegiance, which writers Jay Kuo (music, lyrics, and book), Marc Acito, and Lorenzo Thione (book) based on Takei and his family’s experience during the Japanese American internment of World War II. Donors traveled together to the show, then participated in a question-and-answer session with Takei and fellow cast members Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, and Michael K. Lee.
“It was wonderful having Michael Ritchie [CTG Artistic Director] moderate the CTG donors’ post-performance talkback at the Old Globe,” Takei said. “Michael told me he loved Allegiance, and I can’t wait for him to see the Broadway production.”
On October 6, 2015, previews of Allegiance, again starring Takei, Salonga, Leung, and Lee, began on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre. Opening night is November 8. Audiences are in for a treat—and an eye-opening experience.
“George Takei has a true passion for telling this story,” said donor and Fringe @ CTG President Charles Chatelain, who was part of the 2012 trip. “What has stuck with me the most since seeing Allegiance was the fact that such a significant and true part of what was going on in this country during World War II was downplayed, and most of it left out, in American history classes in school. I was not the only one in our group who did not recall learning very much, if any, about the Japanese American internment camps.” Added Chatelain, “Aside from the art of it all, I love when the theatre teaches me something new.”
“This is a dream come true,” said Takei, who is making his Broadway debut in Allegiance. “My life mission has been to raise the awareness of this forgotten chapter of American history. And now, to be able to combine my passion for musical theatre and my life mission is a thrillingly exhilarating experience.”
Chatelain wholeheartedly recommends Allegiance to New York audiences. “The performances, the writing, and the score work beautifully together to capture the audience from curtain up to curtain down, while leaving them wanting to learn more about an important part of history,” he said.