George Takei on Allegiance – A New Musical (TEDxBroadway)
How Star Trek and the Japanese American internment helped shape Allegiance
George Takei, best known as Captain Sulu of TV’s Star Trek, says it’s been his “lifelong dream” to make it to Broadway. But now, at age 75, Takei is ready to try again. Allegiance a new musical tells an uplifting story of love, family, and heroism with Takei as its star.
At TEDxBroadway, Takei tells us how Allegiance is based on his childhood experiences. The play speaks to an unknown part of American history: the Japanese American internment during World War II. It’s a story Takei knows very well.
“I was 5 years old when my parents got us up early one morning and hurriedly dressed us,” says Takei in this heartfelt talk. “My brother and I were in the living room, looking out the front window. I saw two soldiers with bayonets on their rifles come marching up the driveway. They stomped up the front porch and they banged on the door … We were ordered out of our home.”
Takei’s family spent four years in a prison camp in Arkansas. “Our only crime was looking like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor,” he says. “I remember the sentry tower with machine guns pointed down at us. I remember the searchlight that followed me when I made night runs to the latrine. As a 5-year-old kid, I thought it was kind of nice that they lit the way for me to pee.”
In this talk, Takei shares the profound impact the experience had on his family with humor and tenderness. And he talks about how he built interest in an unlikely musical about a subject he calls a “dark and shameful chapter of American history.” When Allegiance opened at the Globe Theater in San Diego in late 2012, it broke all box office records for the theater and with its NYC debut imminent, George and his team have their sights on the stars.
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