Went to see Allegiance with my sister last night, and- as I mentioned elsenet- it was heart-exploding. George Takei!! Lea Salonga!!! And of course, that story. ♥ It appears that the primary facilitators of my access to literal gross sobbing are immigrant stories, of course. (I am not a frequent crier!) Also, can I just say how fucking refreshing it was to go and see a Broadway show with a majority-Asian cast?? As in, there were maybe four non-Asian people on stage (WHO SAYS THERE ISN'T A TALENT POOL). Such satisfying feelings of comfort and freedom and recognition and yes
Of all the things George Takei must intend this story to be, it feels like a conversation starter more than anything else. The history of the Japanese internment camps, race relations, questions of belonging and citizenship, family tensions, the ways diasporados choose again and again to hold on or let go, the ways we express strength in the face of suffering, how we define and choose to be loyal (to a nation? to a family? to our history? to tradition?). It's about the borders we cross, how we live within them, and how we carry them with us. It's about how and where we choose to make our stand. And, of course, the prices of the choices we make.
I may never be able to achieve the most critical mindset about this musical. Quite frankly, to see George Takei perform on stage and pass on pieces of his family's own story put me in a state of emotional flailing even beyond the one accessed through Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights
(and oh, when I saw in the program notes that George Takei also
cried with recognition at that show. ♥ Immigrant stories!!). Also, LEA SALONGA!!!! My sister, who seems to have retained more dignity and critical thought than I did at the time, said quite accurately that she was great, but everyone else was a bit meepy. This is a fair statement, but it's not that the voice quality of the cast is mediocre; it's that Lea Salonga fucking eclipses everyone else in the room
when she opens her mouth to sing.
Other assorted thoughts: ( spoilers-ish? )
In short: loved it, and if you have the chance to see it, do! Especially if you are in/around NYC and may therefore also be able to watch GEORGE TAKEI and LEA SALONGA live on stage. My only regret is that we were running for the bus and therefore couldn't hang around the theater to attempt to greet the cast as they left.