Posted: Sep 13, 2012 1:35 PM by Lauren Molenburg
Updated: Sep 13, 2012 1:38 PM
George Takei has plenty of practice exploring strange new worlds on TV and film, but delving into a painful time in his family's life onstage is something even he never imagined.
Takei and his family were among thousands of Japanese-Americans put in internment camps during World War II. The 75-year-old "Star Trek" actor's memories inspired composer/lyricist Jay Kuo to write "Allegiance - A New American Musical," which has high hopes of making it to Broadway.
Takei and Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga ("Miss Saigon") headline the production at The Old Globe in San Diego. Set to open Wednesday, the show follows a Japanese-American war veteran played by Takei who looks back on his family's time in an internment camp.
"I wanted to turn my childhood experience in the internment camps that we were in into a script. Jay said a musical is much more moving and you'll reach many more people with a musical," Takei said in an interview.
It was chance meeting with Kuo in 2008 at a Broadway theater that ignited the idea. Kuo and producer Lorenzo Thione met the actor and his husband and listened to Takei talk about his family's history.
Two weeks later, Kuo sent Takei a song he had written called "Allegiance," about a Japanese father trying to respond to a U.S.-issued "loyalty questionnaire." By 2009, they began doing readings of an entire show.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)