Edit ModuleShow Tags

I Pledge Allegiance

Saluting quality actors landing on the local stage


George Takei and Lea Solanga

George Takei and Lea Solanga

It’s very cool that people like George Takei (Star Trek icon) and Lea Solanga (Disney and Broadway songstress extraordinaire) come to our city to do theater.

Both actors are currently starring in the Old Globe’s world premiere of Allegiance: A New American Musical, along with Glee alum Telly Leung (hello, Warblers!) and local talents like Allie Trimm (Hannah) and Geno Carr (you've seen him play Papa Who in Old Globe's Grinch). Allegiance was directed by Stafford Arima, with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo.

The story follows a Japanese American family forced into an internment camp in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Generations are torn, the younger drawn to fight for America and prove patriotism, the elder tied to the honor of their Japanese ancestors (and the middle generation protesting the draft, on principle). A young Sammy (Leung), just elected to student council, has the world at his feet. But everything changes when his father has to sell their Salinas farm (for ten cents on the dollar) before they are sent to Heart Mountain Internment Camp in Wyoming.

The subject matter bears personal significance as Takei himself was incarcerated at Camp Rohwer and Camp Tule Lake, and fellow Allegiance actor Paul Nakauchi is a child of camp survivors.

Lea Solanga and another actor

It’s an intense and very tragic historical account. The woman in the seat next to me was especially tearful, and there were several sniffles in the house.

The story of the internment camps is one that needs to be told, although the medium (musical theater) was an interesting choice. It was very heavy—a swing dance number and jitterbug choreography almost seemed jarring. Plus, I was a little starstruck.

Readers might have to be theater geeks to fully appreciate this, but Lea Salonga, who plays Kei Kimura, is best known for her vocal performance as princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin (A whole new world!), her Tony-award winning portrayal as Kim in Miss Saigon, and her turn as Eponine in Les Miserables.

Salonga really carries the show. Give the girl a powerhouse ballad and she’ll take it from there. Just hearing her sing, takes me back to the late ‘90s, belting “Now That I’ve Seen Her" in the shower.

And George. The veteran. I think he was a little underutilized in this production. But he performs which such joy, it’s hard not to smile while watching him.

The 75-year-old really comes through in the end, delivering a moving monologue in the final moments of the show.

Again, I just think it’s cool that San Diego is a theater town, and that people get excited about new productions.

Show your allegiance to theater and new ventures like this one, now on the Shiley Stage through October 21.


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

It's a Thing: Too Many Free Lunches

What we're talking about in the office this week

3 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in San Diego

Where to go green in honor of Ireland’s patron saint this Saturday

7 Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day in San Diego

Opportunities to #PressForProgress aren't limited to March 8, they're available all month long
Edit Module

Subscribe to the Blog

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle

Buy a Raffle Ticket, Win This Rare Sports Car

Donate to a good cause to seriously upgrade your ride
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2018
    From burritos to bottomless mimosas, you choose San Diego’s best eats and drinks in 90 categories
  2. 15 Coolest Jobs in San Diego and How to Get Them
    We asked 15 San Diego professionals with the coolest jobs in town how they landed their gigs—and how we could steal them
  3. First Look: Cloak & Petal
    The owners of Tajima bring Japanese small plates to Little Italy with Cloak & Petal
  4. 31 Best Places to Live in San Diego
    Five local homeowners share their advice, tips, and tricks on how they sealed the deal
  5. Green Rush: Inside San Diego's Emerging Cannabis Industry
    Marijuana's legal. How did it go from evil death drug to medical miracle and billion-dollar industry?
  6. First Look: Bivouac Ciderworks
    A new craft cidery opens in North Park, designed for the outdoors person in all of us
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module