Charing Cross Theatre
7th Jan to 8th April 2023
“George Takei, the original and beloved Mr. Sulu from ‘Star Trek’, film and television star, activist and social media icon, is to make his London stage debut in the UK premiere of the Broadway musical inspired by Takei’s true childhood experiences, ‘George Takei’s Allegiance’.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II, California-born Takei and his family were placed behind the barbed-wire enclosures of United States’ internment camps along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans. He spent years of his childhood at Camp Rohwer in the swamps of Arkansas and at wind-swept Camp Tule Lake in northern California. At the end of the war, Takei’s family returned to their native Los Angeles. Inspired by this difficult chapter of American history, Takei developed the Broadway musical Allegiance, an epic story of love and heroism in which he starred alongside Tony Award winner Lea Salonga and Telly Leung in its record-breaking world premiere at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 2012. The show won multiple awards and was followed by a Broadway run in 2015-2016.
Now Allegiance gets a new and more intimate production for the UK, conceived specifically for the Off West End space at Charing Cross Theatre, directed and choreographed by Tara Overfield Wilkinson (director, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ UK tour, associate director/choreographer of ‘Come From Away’ UK).
Joining Takei will be his Broadway co-star Telly Leung (Broadway’s ‘Aladdin’ and TV’s ‘Glee’). ‘George Takei’s Allegiance’ tells the moving story of Sam Kimura (Takei) as he is transported back nearly six decades to when his younger self (Leung) and his sister Kei fought to stay connected to their heritage, their family and themselves after Japanese Americans were wrongfully imprisoned during World War II. A powerful story told with great resonance and intimacy, ‘George Takei’s Allegiance’ explores the ties that bind us, the struggle to persevere and the overwhelming power of forgiveness and, most especially, love.”
Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars
ALLEGIANCE is one of the few musical theatre shows that grips you from the start and tells such an important piece of history from WWII. America has historically committed crimes against other nations, and even it’s own citizens, and somehow has managed to always get away with little condemnation. Here we see Americans of Japanese heritage being rounded up by American soldiers and forced into concentration camps. “Yellow face” to use the provocative term from within this production, who are loyal, patriotic, American citizens, treated like prisoners of war, living in squalid conditions, with neither dignity nor respect from their captors.
The musical began development in 2008 and premiered in September 2012 in San Diego, California. It played on Broadway from October 2015 to February 2016. Reviews on Broadway were mixed, although the cast was generally praised. A revival followed in Los Angeles in 2018.
This London revival has a local cast and creative team. And they’ve smashed it! Picking up 6 x OFFIE Award nominations and rightly deserved.
The Charing Cross theatre has shown many audience configurations over the years and this production is presented in traverse with the audience on both sides. Director and choreographer, Tara Overfield Wilkinson, has excelled, where others have fallen, in staging a wonderful viewing experience for everyone no matter where they’re sat. Clever dynamic choreography that powerfully tells the story through dancing and drama. George Takei, is a very humble actor who’s integrated so well into the show as the wise grandfather of the family.
The theatre configuration can be challenging for a lighting designer, but Nic Farman shows sensitive effective lighting that delivers punch and musicality while maintaining precise illumination of the actors’ faces – mixing tungsten with LED with perfection. This has got to be the best lighting of any production ever to have been seen at the Charing Cross theatre.
The musicality of the show is to die for. With rhythms that drive, harmonies and key changes in just the right places, the cast and orchestra deliver a wonderful sound. Chris Whybrow has delicately integrated a lot of mics and instrument pickups. Never blasting, all beautifully balanced.
The Set and Costumes look authentic while enabling the staging and dance movements.
It’s musical theatre that’s an important story that tugs at your heart strings – through excellent acting, singing and dancing – I doubt you’ll see any musical better than ALLEGIANCE.
Photo credit: Tristram Kenton & Danny Kaan
ALLEGIANCE has gained 6 x OFFIE Nominations.
Sing Out, Louise! Productions presents
‘George Takei’s Allegiance’
Book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione
Music and Lyrics by Jay Kuo
Directed & Choreographed by Tara Overfield Wilkinson
Musical Supervision & Orchestrations by Andrew Hilton & Charlie Ingles
Lighting Design by Nic Farman
Sound Design by Chris Whybrow
Casting by Sarah Leung Casting
Cast and Creative link: Click here
Charing Cross Theatre
London WC2N 6NL
Box office: 08444 930650
Saturday 7 January to Saturday 8 April, 2023
Monday to Saturday evenings at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday matinees
(excluding Saturday 7 January) at 2.30pm
£20.00 – £70.00
Premium seats £80
A booking fee applies to phone and internet orders;
no booking fee to in person over the counter sales.
A restoration levy applies to all tickets
The box office is open from 2 hours before curtain time on performance days for in person sales
Facebook – @allegiancemusical
Twitter / Instagram- @allegiancebway
Website – AllegianceMusical.com