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Members say: Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining
82 reviews
1056 reviews

George Takei and Lea Salonga star in a new musical inspired by Takei's childhood, about a family recovering from the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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Set during the Japanese American internment of World War II, this epic story of love, war, and heroism follows the Kimura family in the weeks and years following Pearl Harbor, as they are relocated from their farm in Salinas, California to the Heart Mountain internment camp in the rural plains of Wyoming.


Reviews (1138)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

"Directed in workmanlike fashion by Stafford Arima, 'Allegiance' has a complicated story to unfold and to humanize. It does a reasonable job of providing a nuanced view of events, the occasional swerve into melodrama notwithstanding…The authors, feeling the responsibility of illuminating this shameful chapter in American history, pack the show with so much incident and information that 'Allegiance' often feels more like a history lesson than a musical." Full Review


"Shockingly, it works: Not only is 'Allegiance' a grandiose epic reminiscent of Miss Saigon, it also serves as a compelling family drama...'Allegiance' is delightfully old-school: a big schmaltzy musical of dubious historical accuracy delivered with ample humor and heart...Stafford Arima's fast-paced, ever-moving production reinforces that tone." Full Review


"Bookwriters Marc Acito, Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione do a fine job in voicing the multiple issues involved with the situation with earnestness, and director Arima's production eschews extravagance to focus on the human story, but 'Allegiance' lacks a score that meets the emotional demands of its subject...This is a great topic for a musical and the talented company plays it admirably, but 'Allegiance,' while certainly not a bad theatre piece, is an underachieving one." Full Review

Time Out New York

"If only the creative team behind 'Allegiance' could have worked such gentle magic with the raw and painful material of history. This well-intentioned but mawkish musical about a family interned after Pearl Harbor tries to balance romance, humor and tragedy, but crumples things badly…There’s a complex tale of honor, shame and assimilation here, but it’s been stretched out to cartoonish billboard size." Full Review


"The strength of 'Allegiance' is in the story. Not the musical’s book, which is no more than serviceable, but the disturbing real-life events behind it…Authentic moments are few and fleeting, overwhelmed by standard love songs...In their sincere efforts to 'humanize' their complex historical material, the creatives have oversimplified and reduced it to generic themes...It must be said that the production values are quite high. The design of the show is highly stylized, but in a meaningful way." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"'Allegiance' should be better served by its book, score and lyrics, most of which tend toward the generic. Stafford Arima’s direction does too. Composer and lyricist Jay Kuo and book writers Marc Acito and Lorenzo Thione are striving so hard for stirring nobility that individuality or particular characterization falls by the wayside...The show only really acquires force once the body count rises and the familiar tropes of melodrama are employed." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"There are a few things that don't quite work - and a couple that are flat-out wrong - in 'Allegiance,' but every time the show threatens to succumb to sentimentality or formulaic musical comedy gestures, it surprises with something striking, even shocking...Even as it arrives at a reconciliation of sorts - which, if staged with more restraint, would be far more powerful - 'Allegiance' doesn't sugarcoat the events it portrays." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"The creative team behind 'Allegiance' has worked hard to make this important musical both entertaining and illuminating, and Takei is just one of the many splendid performers, including Lea Salonga and Telly Leung, who boost the enterprise with both lively and touching moments...If there are some unfortunate choices and missed opportunities in 'Allegiance,' they are outweighed by what it does right, especially the heft of the subject matter and the talent of the cast." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"'Allegiance' is more of an operetta than a musical. As such the characters find their voices in the music. There is little in the dialog that is remarkable or revealing. There is an interracial love story that livens up the plot, but other than that the story and the blocking are fairly predictable. Which is not to say boring. Because it is the music that tells the tale, and the music is quite wonderful...Ultimately what wins you over is the heart to heart connection. " Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"But none of this has been executed with any wit, color, or invention that may even partially obscure what they're going for…If it all sounds as crushingly boring as it is socially responsible, it is. Dramatic works in general predictably suffer from being forced into activism molds, because any instituted myopia drastically complicates (and perhaps impedes altogether) the process crafting people and situations that can be cared about on anything but a surface level." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"It is of no artistic value whatsoever, save as an object lesson in how to write a really bad Broadway musical. 'Allegiance' is peopled with characters made of solid cardboard. The Japanese-Americans are all noble and true, the Caucasians yawping apes save for a bosomy blonde nurse from Nebraska who—stop press—falls for an internee!...The cast is mostly very fine, especially Mr. Takei and the marvelous Lea Salonga…But the show itself is a dud—and a missed opportunity. " Full Review

The Huffington Post

"'Allegiance' is not tiresomely noble. Nor does it waste its time pointing out the obvious injustice of what happened. Instead, it creates vivid drama from the conflicts in the Japanese American community…But a musical lives and dies by its songs. Many a show has a weak book but gets revived by a great score...The music and lyrics by Kuo while moving the plot forward are rarely good enough to stand out on their own." Full Review

AM New York

"It's so depressing when a new musical that explores an important historical event turns out to have so many problems…The musical gets derailed by Jay Kuo's weak score (full of derivative music and pedestrian lyrics), the busy, broad nature of the plotting and Stafford Arima's unexciting staging…'Allegiance' does raise awareness about a dark, overlooked chapter in American history. But considering the show's problems, it is unlikely to find a wide audience." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"The powerful sentiments involved are too often flattened by the pedestrian lyrics and unmemorable melodies, making an unconvincing case for this material's suitability to be a musical…The songs and their platitudinous lyrics lack personality, despite the best efforts of the talented performers…The most moving work comes from Takei...His deep personal association to the material and evidence of a generous spirit of forgiveness are among the show's strengths." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"Whenever the authors find ways to dramatize the stark humiliations suffered by people who were, after all, loyal citizens of the United States, 'Allegiance' is momentarily effective…But too much of the show is devoted to far-fetched plot twists whose attempts to gin up excitement…'Allegiance' is so overmusicalized that the book feels anemic. And though often pretty too many of those songs sound too much alike as they reach for grandeur but get stuck at glue." Full Review

New York Daily News

"There’s noble and meaty material here. But the storytelling has issues. The production, directed by Stafford Arima, is a jumble — super-serious here, airy musical-comedy there. Kuo’s score careens from grand pop opera anthems to earnest but trivial self-help filler songs...'Allegiance' also wants to make a significant statement. But it’s too tangled to say very much." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"'Allegiance,' the newest musical to hit the great white way is touching, endearing, well written and passionate. This is a musical that is important on so many levels, especially now...The book, music and intelligent lyrics by Marc Acito, Lorenzo Thione and Jay Kuo will draw you in and touch your soul. This story does not preach but unfolds like a novel you can’t put down." Full Review


"A somewhat ungainly musical that has moments of beauty and passion, as well as a complexity of themes that are not the usual stuff of Broadway shows…Less successful are the staging by Stafford Arima and the dancing by Andrew Palermo, which have the virtue of avoiding Asian cliché but also fail, like the songs, to give the show wings...It’s a triumph of a rare sort, shedding light in a dark corner of our history with uncommon generosity of spirit." Full Review


"You can't blame the creative team for opting for a conventional, emotion-grabbing way into the narrative — even though the focus on the romances and familial strife the relocations generated tends to weaken the well deserved indictment of those who relegated more than a hundred thousand fellow Americans to enemy alien status...The lyrics aren't especially clever or memorable, but the vocally strong cast sings the heck out of them." Full Review


"The show isn't bombastic or preachy, though some may find the well-structured book too earnest. Kuo's serviceable score is loaded with anthems...Although we hear enticing Japanese flute and percussion between scenes, this more 'Le Miz'-lite pop opera than a fusion of musical cultures. But I was engrossed throughout. The show has fully developed characters, a strong cast and a new story to tell in an old-fashioned way." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"Takei, of course, was a kid at the time, and a survivor in every way. Indeed, the moral authority of his about the only thing that really works in 'Allegiance,' a musical...that seems, alas, wholly out of sync with its subject matter, especially when directed at such breakneck speed by Stafford Arima." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"The importance of 'Allegiance' and the remarkable strength of its principals and ensemble cast outweigh the new musical’s weaknesses...Despite minor concerns, 'Allegiance' remains a strong and successful musical dealing with an important part of American history. Its thematic content raises enduring questions about the current conversation regarding immigration, loyalty, and citizenship and adds considerable weight to that important discussion." Full Review


"The production is hampered by the mixed signals it sends out. Are we supposed to become involved by outrage at what was done to these innocent people, or entertained by the performance of traditional Broadway musical routines?...It isn't clear, actually, why 'Allegiance' needed to be a musical at all. Most of the songs fall into a numbing pattern...The show's final scene is extremely touching. It's too bad the show couldn't find, and sustain, a similar tone much earlier." Full Review

The Wrap

"The real success of the 'Allegiance' book, however, isn’t its depiction of injustice, which is vivid. What distinguishes the show is its extremely varied portraits of the Japanese-American characters…That’s a lot of history to pack into a two-and-half-hour show, and yet the authors and the cast (under the sure-footed direction of Stafford Arima) never reduce 'Allegiance' to a lecture…It’s unfortunate that the score by Kuo doesn’t enhance this harrowing story." Full Review


"It’s a poignant and well-crafted story, with a title that operates on multiple levels. Here, allegiance refers to the loyalty we feel for country. And, obligations we have to family and friends. And finally, truths we live by as individuals—the determination to stand our ground when life sours. All these ideas are woven smartly into the often-stirring drama." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Ambitious, Profound, Relevant, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you think George Takai is a national treasure and love to hear Lea Salonga sing

Don't see it if you expect a perfect treatment that does the subject of Japanese internment justice.

Beautiful, Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing

See it if you are in the mood for a beautiful, sweeping historical tragedy

Don't see it if you're looking for something light and easy

Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if An important story well told, filled with emotions.

Don't see it if n/a

Also I saw this show at the Longacre Theaater in Feb 2016.

Quirky, Disappointing, Great singing

See it if you want to learn more about WWII

Don't see it if you won't, it closed.

Ambitious, Intense, Must see, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You want to be moved to tears while learning about a rarely mentioned piece of American history as portrayed by a talented cast.

Don't see it if You are afraid to look into the horrible things that have gone on right here in the USA.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated

See it if you want a lesser known story of US history

Don't see it if you expected to be brought into the realities of Japanese internment-disappointed this somehow didn't connect the significance w/ audience

Intelligent, Must see, Profound, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You want to be deeply moved by an american story based on a piece of American history many would like to ignore.

Don't see it if you are looking for amazing music or dialogue.

Also The show is far from perfect, but it honestly makes up for that in hea... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Cliched, Slow

See it if If you like a great cast/star trek and relate to Japanese culture.

Don't see it if If you want to see a masterpiece instead of a weak production.

Enchanting, Intense, Profound, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you'd like to see an emotional and rarely told chapter of US history and the Japanese-American community

Don't see it if you're allergic to shows that lack polish. A personal retelling of Mr. Takei's experience would've been a better choice than what was staged

Banal, Disappointing, Cliched, Great singing

See it if Had such high hopes, but ugh! except Lea, of course.

Don't see it if So sorry to say...avoid it.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Slow, Great singing

See it if you have a connection to the material and subject matter, or are fans of Salonga or Takei. A valiant effort at exploring a tough subject.

Don't see it if you're just visiting. The score doesn't connect with the story sometimes, with a bit too much of a Disney feel in very serious moments.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Resonant

See it if You enjoy shows about history. You want to learn about what it was like for Japanese Americans during a dark time in America's history.

Don't see it if You should see it. This is a story that needs to be told and heard, so that we don't ever let history repeat itself.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like original plays.

Don't see it if don't like plays about casualties of war.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Must see, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a heartbreakingly beautiful musical about the internment camps in America during World War II.

Don't see it if seeing a musical about a serious topic is a turn off for you, especially one concerning politics and war.

Ambitious, Relevant, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if You like historical musicals with a powerful female lead.

Don't see it if You are expecting magic from George Takei. I thought he actually brought it down.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You want to learn about a side of America most know very little. This show is far from perfect but should be seen!! Some special moments.

Don't see it if You believe we should build that wall that the orange push up pop keeps talking about.

Original, It tried

See it if you have an interest in Japanese American history or WWII.

Don't see it if you shy away from intense themes. The first act is a little rough, but the second half it pulled it together. I think it's worth seeing.

Great acting, Profound, Resonant, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You want to support theatre trying to tell important stories and a large, talented Asian cast. Lea Salonga. George Takei.

Don't see it if Excluding Mike Masaoka not much of a history lesson. More like Titanic. Stepping stone to the show we deserve. Poor staging choices.

Original, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in the history of Japanese Americans during World War II. I learned more about it during this show than I did in hs.

Don't see it if you are looking for a flawless musical. There are definitely some moments that are problematic.

Original, Relevant, Disappointing

See it if you must see all Lea Salonga shows; you want to support diversity of stories and casts

Don't see it if you don't care about the issues - it's not compelling enough to merit seeing otherwise

Original, Ambitious, Relevant, Disappointing

See it if you are looking for a more diverse set of stories on the Broadway stage / you are a Lea Salonga fan

Don't see it if you are expecting greatness or significant originality in your storytelling or music

Original, Ambitious, Resonant, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You're very interested in Lea Salonga or learning about the Japanese internment.

Don't see it if You want to see a really well-crafted, groundbreaking musical.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You're interested in history and want to have a good cry. This isn't a big musical.

Don't see it if You have other shows that you prefer to see! This show isn't the best, but I'm still glad I saw it.

Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You'd like to see a production with a biographical theme along with wonderful singing by Lea Salonga and Telly Leung.

Don't see it if You want only entertainment without any historical reference, and do not want to laugh, cry, and hum to some of the catchy tunes.

Original, Ambitious, Relevant, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You are after Lea Solonga

Don't see it if You like a fully rounded cast