George Takei had been posting for months on his project, Allegiance – A New American Musical. If you don’t know anything about Mr. Oh My! other than he played Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, you should know he was in the Japanese internment camps during World War II. This project is close to his heart.
I never thought I’d see this. Ever. I live in Ohio for goodness sakes and it is playing in San Diego’s Old Globe Theater.
This was one of those things that just happened.
I discovered Lea Salonga was playing in the show alongside Mr. Takei and I decided I had to go. I was already interested in the show from all of Mr. Takei’s posts, but you throw Lea Salonga in. That’s a deal breaker right there. I don’t pass up an opportunity to see Lea Salonga. Just ask my co-workers back in Hawai`i. They dealt with a lot of screaming from me and another co-worker when I told her that Les Miserables was coming to town with Lea Salonga playing the part of Eponine. Did I mention the screaming?
Anyway. Chaz was amenable to going – he’s not always a fan of musicals, opera, and ballet, but he goes when I ask because I don’t ask often. We managed to get 2 tickets on opening night. The very first night. Not the opening night they had last week.
Despite leaving Encinitas early to get to downtown San Diego, we got stuck in a lot of stop and go traffic. A lot. Then we managed to park in the furthest parking lot in Balboa Park from the theater. We didn’t have trusty Darth Vader with us to guide us so we had to rely on the navigation app on our phones. I decided our smartphone navigation isn’t so smart. Walking to the theater wasn’t so bad though. Until we got lost. We were about to start walking in circles when we flagged down a nice gentleman coming out of the back of a restaurant.
We were there in plenty of time. I looked around the little gift shop and we went over the bar to get a drink before. The amazing part was they had gluten-free goodies along with the regular goodies they sell. None of them were also dairy-free and egg-free, but it was great to see more diversity out there.
I must mention that for those of you who only know me through my blogs, I lived in Encinitas for a number of years and graduated from high school there before moving back to my true home, Hawai`i. This was my first time going to The Old Globe for a show.
I got that little shivering vibration run through me when the show started and Lea Salonga came out on stage.
I truly did not know exactly what to expect musically from this show. This isn’t like other shows that come up on Broadway and you end up hearing the soundtrack before going to see the show. You pretty much know all about it before ever seeing it visually. I knew this was about Japanese internment. That was it.
I wound up very impressed with the music and the story of a family pulled apart during the war because of their differing views of what they should be doing as people of Japanese descent during the war. That is really what hit me.
The family is composed of three generations. The two elder generations are still Japanese citizens. The nisei siblings are American born. Thus, they all have different perspectives and different frames of reference which causes the son to end up butting heads with everyone. You cannot appreciate just how much different experiences shape our beliefs until you see it in play in something like Allegiance.
I was struck in the midst of it all that there I was sitting in a replica of the real Old Globe (I am a Shakespeare fan) watching the very first show of a brand new musical that is Broadway worthy and I wasn’t on Broadway. Make sure you check out the link I provided above to the musical and you can see some clips to see what I mean.
If you are in the San Diego area, go see this show. And take some tissues with you.