Actor George Takei is about to make his London stage debut at age 85.
Best known for his role in “Star Trek,” Takei will be taking the stage for a limited time in the U.K. in 2023 for “George Takei’s Allegiance,” the Broadway musical inspired by his true childhood experiences.
George Takei Announces ‘Allegiance’ U.K. Premiere: ‘Life Really Is Amazing’
I am 85 years old. And I will be making my London stage debut in my legacy project, Allegiance, in January. Life really is amazing.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 1, 2022
On Saturday, October 1, the “Mulan” voice actor took to Twitter to promote the U.K. premiere of his legacy project, “Allegiance.”
“I am 85 years old. And I will be making my London stage debut in my legacy project, Allegiance, in January,” he tweeted. “Life really is amazing.”
For my UK fans: Come see me by getting tickets here: https://t.co/QOsMdBV6Hv
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 1, 2022
He followed it up with a link for fans in the U.K. to purchase their tickets to see the show, which only runs for 13 weeks: from January 7, 2023, to April 8, 2023.
Although he was born in California, his parents were Japanese-American immigrants. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II, Takei and his family were placed in concentration camps along with over 100,000 other Japanese Americans.
He spent his formative years being raised at Camp Rohwer in Arkansas and Camp Tule Luke in northern California. After the war ended, he and his family were allowed to return to Los Angeles, where he was born.
To shed light on this dark period of American history, Takei created the Broadway musical, “Allegiance,” in which he starred along with Lea Salonga and Telly Leung in its 2012 world premiere at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. The show has gone on to win multiple awards and had a limited run on Broadway from 2015 to 2016.
‘Allegiance’ Is Based On The Experiences Takei and His Family Had Growing Up In Japanese Concentration Camps
According to Broadway World, the U.K. performance will be choreographed by Tara Overfield. “Glee” star Telly Leung will also be joining George Takei on the stage. According to the synopsis:
“’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.”
This U.K. production of the show will also feature musical supervision and orchestrations by Andrew Hilton and Charlie Ingles. Lighting design was created by Nic Farman, sound design was developed by Chris Whybrow, and Sarah Leung Casting was responsible for casting the production.
During a 2019 Q&A with GQ, Takei was open about the anti-Asian sentiment that had built up in the public even before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. “There were radio shows, movies, and plays that characterized the Japanese-Americans as bloodthirsty or villainous or inscrutable,” he explained. “In fact, that was a word used by a California attorney general who went on to become a historic American.”
“ The camps that we were in were concentration camps. If you look the word up in the dictionary, the dictionary definition is the concentration of people of a common heritage, race, or faith for political purposes. Some were immigrants, but we were Americans born here,” he continued. “My mother was born in Sacramento, California. My father was a San Franciscan. They met and married, and my brother and sister and I were born in Los Angeles. We were Americans.”
“But suddenly, because we happened to look like the people that bombed Pearl Harbor, we were concentrated together with other Japanese-Americans from up and down the West Coast: 120,000 of us in barb-wire prison camps guarded over by the U.S. military in sentry towers with guns aimed at us,” he added. “That was a concentration camp.”
“Japanese-Americans were in concentration camps. The children being torn away from Latinos fleeing violence and poverty are in concentration camps. The Jewish people concentrated by the Nazis were in death camps or extermination camps,” he explained. “So we need to recognize each for what it is, and each are grotesque horrors inflicted on other human beings.”