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ALLEGIANCE – A NEW AMERICAN MUSICAL is an epic story of family, love and patriotism set during the Japanese American internment of World War II. Sixty years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a chance meeting forces WWII veteran Sam Kimura (television and film star George Takei) to remember his family's relocation from their California farm to the Heart Mountain internment camp. As they struggle to adjust to their new home, Young Sam (Telly Leung – Godspell, "Glee") and his sister Kei (Lea Salonga, Tony Award winner for Miss Saigon) find themselves torn between loyalty to their family and allegiance to their country. With its moving score, ALLEGIANCE takes audiences on a journey into our nation's history through the eyes of one American family.
Run time: Two hours and 15 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.
BACKGROUND ON THE JAPANESE AMERICAN INTERNMENT
The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is an oft-overlooked and shameful chapter of American history. In the aftermath of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt authorized, through Executive Order 9066, the forced evacuation of approximately 120,000 persons of Japanese descent from the West Coast of the U.S. and their involuntary internment in 10 camps on American soil. About two-thirds of the internees were American citizens.
Although many reasons were given at the time for the internment, all of them have been discredited as based in prejudice, animus and war-time hysteria. No U.S. citizen or alien of Japanese descent was ever charged with, let alone found guilty of, any act of espionage or sabotage, even though the U.S. government had insisted these concerns underlay its egregious policy. Decades later, the U.S. apologized for its actions and provided certain monetary reparations to surviving internees.
You can learn more by following the links below to organizations related to these topics.
A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans & the U.S. Constitution
Focusing on the experiences of Japanese Americans who were placed in detention camps during World War II. Experience the story through interactive galleries that combine images, music, text and first-person accounts.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt cited military necessity as the basis for incarcerating 120,000 Japanese Americans—adults and children, immigrants and citizens alike. Decades later a congressional commission found the justification of military necessity to be false. Learn the true reasons for this unprecedented denial of civil liberties.
Go For Broke National Education Center
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was "go for broke." It's a gambling term that means risking everything on one great effort to win big. The soldiers of the 442nd needed to win big. They were Nisei—American-born sons of Japanese immigrants. They fought two wars: the Germans in Europe and the prejudice in America. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the entire history of the U.S. Military.
San Diego Internment History (U-T San Diego, May 19, 2012)
The war devastated San Diego's Japanese community, especially the Issei, the first-generation immigrants. From the 1920s until 1942, the intersection of Fifth and Island was the heart of a busy Japantown. With internment, all of this district's Japanese-owned businesses—nearly 60—vanished. Only a few reappeared. "In many ways, it broke down the community," said Susan Hasegawa, a professor of history at San Diego City College. "The community as a core and the Issei that held it together were very much scattered and dispersed.”
"The Tag Project:" Wendy Maruyama, San Diego Artist
All Japanese Americans from the West Coast were rounded up in 1942 and each were issued a tag and an ID number designating their destination: one of several internment camps, all in desolate, deserted areas of the United States. The most haunting and striking photos were of the families wearing tags at the various assembly centers before being shipped off by train to these remote areas. Maruyama was taken by the physical weight of these tags when they were completed and hung, despite appearing to be light and airy. For this project, it was necessary to make all 120,000 tags, to represent every Japanese American who was sent to the 10 major camps. Maruyama feels that the sheer numbers and the scale of these tags will convey to all who view them that the internment was a massive project that was to affect an entire culture of people and their future generations.
“The Tag Project” — An art installation by artist Wendy Maruyama
features groupings of ID tags resembling those worn by Japanese Americans as they were sent to the internment camps. Approximately 11 feet tall and weighing more than 100 pounds, each grouping contains enough tags to represent every person in one of the 10 U.S. internment camps. The installation features three of the 10 groupings and is located in the upper lobby of the Old Globe Theatre. Admittance to this art exhibit is included in the ticket price to Allegiance and is available for viewing 45 minutes prior to showtime. Additionally, the exhibit will be open to the public on Tuesdays from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Allegiance: A San Diego Perspective —
A Special Museum Exhibit
The Old Globe and the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego present a museum exhibit throughout the run of Allegiance about the history of Japanese Americans who lived in San Diego prior to World War II and their removal to the internment camps. The exhibit contains photographs, artifacts and materials about the internment and how it affected San Diego County and its citizens. Located in the San Diego Museum of Man Annex directly adjacent to The Old Globe, the exhibit is free to the public and will be open two hours prior to each performance on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays; from noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays; and from noon to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays as part of Balboa Park's Free Tuesdays.