George Takei’s ‘Allegiance’ anchors Culver City’s Asian World Film Festival
The Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling blockbuster “La La Land” may have made the movie musical cool again, but “Star Trek” star George Takei’s “Allegiance” has firmly returned the genre to social relevance.
Starring Takei and loosely based on his youth in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, the musical had a brief run on Broadway from November 2015 to February 2016 before finding a second act in the world of cinema.
When Fathom Events screened a filmed version of the musical on Dec. 13, 2016, the premiere was the company’s highest-grossing Broadway musical event at that time and brought in more than $1 million in tickets sales, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. Subsequent screenings, spurred by popular demand, have followed. Plus a 2018 theatrical production of “Allegiance” by Los Angeles’ East West Players is in the works.
On Thursday, Nov. 2, a screening of “Allegiance: The Broadway Musical on the Big Screen” is the grand finale for the Asian World Film Festival, which opened Wednesday and continues with screenings of films from more than 50 Asian countries throughout this weekend at Culver City’s ArcLight Theatre.
Before the screening, Takei — who was best known as Starship Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu before renewing his fame as a celebrity activist and social media personality — will be honored with a lifetime achievement award for his public service with the Japanese American Citizens League and the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles.
While The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood pooh-poohed the original Broadway production of Takei’s “Allegiance” as “a singing history lesson,” the popularity of the musical post-Broadway and its thriving after life has proved that the story’s message has resonated more with the public than one critic’s remarks.
“My intention was for this story to be known by all Americans — it’s our Constitution that was egregiously violated,” Takei told The New York Times in a 2015 interview about the show.
Considering the political times we’re living in, “Allegiance” likely has more left to say.
— Christina Campodonico
“Allegiance: The Broadway Musical on the Big Screen” screens at 7 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 2) at ArcLight Cinemas Culver City, 9500 Culver Blvd., Culver City. $80. Visit asianworldfilmfest.org for tickets and full festival schedule.