There was a bit of confusion, even disappointment, upon receiving our Playbills and seeing someone else’s name under “Kei Kimura”, the charming and fierce female lead who was supposed to be played by Lea. After all, I’m sure many of us Filipinos went to see Allegiance because of her. I saw many of our kababayans gathered in the lobby of the Longacre Theater before the show, whispering to each other about Lea’s absence.
But the show must go on and the disappointment immediately disappeared soon as Elena Wang, Lea’s understudy, took Kei’s spot on stage with remarkable confidence and grace, nailing it one scene after another. I was curious to see how she would handle “Higher“, a song that was composed especially for Lea, but oh my wow, Elena totally killed it and won me over.
She didn’t just “fill in” for Lea. She totally owned the role, and it made me happy to have witnessed just that.
Date night yaas!
Allegiance is based on the story of a Japanese-American family and their experience being imprisoned in a military camp post-Pearl Harbour bombing. It is, in fact George Takei’s true story. On top of the beautiful singing and banters, I love everything Allegiance exists to fight for—loyalty, justice, family, forbidden love, forgiveness, dreams, gaman.
And then, of course, the cast. I think it’s impossible to go wrong with a cast that includes George Takei (Star Wars), Telly Yeung (Glee), Michael K Lee (Jesus Christ Superstar) and Katie Rose Clark (Wicked). I sure would have loved to see Lea as Kei but even without her that night, the show was powerful through and through, it almost didn’t feel like it was missing anyone at all.
Not to mention, Allegiance is probably the only show in broadway that has a predominantly Asian cast, and it felt like home in there, being surrounded by your own people making it big in a place like New York City.
As I watched these actors from where I sat, I couldn’t help but try to imagine how it must feel, standing there doing something you’re so passionate about, living your dreams and inspiring people in the process. I came out of the theatre feeling more inspired and braver than when I came in, just what I need at this season of my life.
Photos are not mine, most were grabbed from the official site.
It was sooo good we wanted to watch it again, maybe even see the Lea Salonga version. After all, it was just our first week in New York at the time and we had a lot of time to squeeze in another Allegiance night. But our schedule got filled up very quickly, missed our chance, and soon our trip was coming to an end.
And that was my one regret—Allegiance Musical is playing only until February 14, 2016, and how I wish we watched it again while we still could! I guess what I’m trying to say here is, if you’re somewhere in New York City and you chanced upon this post, I say, don’t have the same regret as mine. Go and take the trip to West 48th street and see Allegiance Musical before it’s gone.
Check out www.allegiancemusical.com for more details.
Watch some clips from the broadway musical here.