MVT Announces Allegiance as the Centerpiece of its 50th Season
HONOLULU (November 6, 2017) – Manoa Valley Theatre today announced that it will produce the Hawaii stage premiere of the Broadway musical, Allegiance, as the artistic crown jewel in its 50th Anniversary Season next year. Performance venue and dates will be announced soon.
This MVT opportunity is the culmination of multiple months’ conversation between MVT Producing Director Dwight Martin and Allegiance lead producer and co-writer Lorenzo Thione. The musical originally ran on Broadway in 2015-2016 season and a filmed performance has been screened multiple times in movie theatres across North America. A revised version of the show, starring George Takei reprising his role from the Broadway production, will debut at East West Players and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles at the Aratani Theatre for a limited run in February through April 2018. It is this version that MVT will be producing in Honolulu in the spring of 2019.
Allegiance tells the story of one family’s extraordinary journey in a troubling time of a nation at war. A mysterious envelope leads Sam Kimura back 60 years to a time when he and his sister Kei strive to save their family from the wrongful imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Sam enlists in the army to prove his family's loyalty, while Kei joins the draft resisters fighting for the rights of their people. Their paths take them from the lush farmlands of California to the wastelands of Wyoming to the battlefields of Europe, and their divided loyalties threaten to tear them apart forever. But as long-lost memories are relived and a new perspective is gained, Sam finds that it is never too late to forgive and experience the redemptive power of love.
“This story is so powerful and gripping...concurrently painful and glorious. It honors human dignity and the power of self-determination,” Martin stated. “Although it is historically based in one of the most shameful moments in American history, the themes are just as relevant today where ethnic and national origins are a focal point for misjudgment, misunderstanding, fear and hate. It is my hope that our production of Allegiance will keep the spotlight on these issues, and help enlighten those who continue to judge others based on color and not character.”
“We are delighted that Manoa Valley Theatre will present Allegiance as part of its 50th Anniversary Season. Audiences across America and beyond have continued to embrace Allegiance and we are thrilled to partner with MVT to share this story on stage through its Hawaii debut production,” Thione remarked.
Inspired by the true life experience of George Takei (Star Trek’s original Sulu) and his family’s incarceration in Japanese American internment camps, Allegiance is a tribute to the fortitude of his family and to the 120,000 others like them who endured with inspirational grace and dignity. Takei starred in the original Broadway production.
Hawaii was involved in the World War II internment program. Its Honouliuli Internment Camp, located near Waipahu, opened in 1943 and closed in 1946. The camp held 320 internees and also became the largest prisoner of war camp in Hawaii with nearly 4,000 individuals being held. Of the seventeen sites that were associated with the history of internment in Hawaii during World War II, Honouliuli was the only one built specifically for prolonged detention. The site was designated Honouliuli National Monument by Presidential Proclamation on February 24, 2015 by President Barack Obama.