Tag Archives: Lea Salonga

Allegiance on Broadway – The New Show to See

If you’re in New York to see Alfie Boe in Les Mis you might also want to see another Broadway show and (aside from Hamilton) the newest show with a hot ticket is George Takei’s Allegiance.  The show is based on the real life experiences of Japanese Americans interned following the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941 (Takei was himself interned) and stars, alongside Takei, Les Mis alumni Lea Salonga.  Our resident New York critic, Roberta, Kappus went to see the show when it opened:

Allegiance  is a powerful and moving musical starring Lea Salonga and George Takei (Star Trek) that just opened on Broadway. The story comes from the real life experience of Mr. Takei’s family in an internment camp following the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II.  Considered a possible threat to the US, many Japanese Americans living on the west coast were rounded up and sent to camps inland.  As such it deals with the despairs, the loves, the triumphs, the births and deaths of this family and others that the family touch in the internment camp.
Allegiance has an incredible cast and I would argue that the cast, alone, makes the show worth seeing.  I don’t think Lea Salonga needs much explanation as many know her from the 25th Anniversary of Les Mis and she is just as outstanding in Allegiance. I do not even know how to describe her voice but it is stunningly beautiful and I could listen to her all day. George Takei who is making his Broadway debut at 78  gives a surprisingly strong performance. Despite all his years of acting I just did not expect such a remarkable performance from him.  Mr. Takei and Ms Salonga are supported by an amazing cast that includes Telly Leung (Glee) and Katie Rose Clarke (Wicked) who recently recorded a Dan and Laura Curtis duet, Now You’re Here, with Chris McCarrell (Marius in Les Mis).

At the end, there is no doubt that Mr. Takei has achieved his goal of ensuring that this chapter in American history is not forgotten. You leave the theater thinking about what you  have just seen and you are still thinking about it weeks later.  If you are interested in a musical with a strong cast that is thought provoking then you should see Allegiance.

Thanks for the review Roberta.

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Alfie to Miz: Les Miserables from A to Z

On the eve of the 30th anniversary of Les Miserables in London, let’s take a look at 26 highlights and facts from Alfie to Miz!

A is for Alfie Boe of course! Alfie played the role in the West End for six months, having first taken the role at the 25th anniversary concert, and is now Jean Valjean on Broadway

B is for bread.  JVJ is jailed for stealing a loaf of bread but the onstage bread was once responsible for almost choking Dan Koek! Whilst pretending to eat the bishops’s bread, a crumb went up Koek’s nose and lodged at the back of his throat…and stayed there for the whole of the soliloquy!

C is for Carrie Hope Fletcher. London’s current Eponine, is the younger sister of McBusted’s Tom Fletcher…who appeared with Alfie at the Royal Festival Hall on the Bring Him Home tour

D is for Do You Hear the People Sing? We can and we can’t imagine ever stopping!

E  is for Eponine, brilliant character – surely, I can’t be the only one rooting for her over Cosette in Marius’ affections?

F is for Frances Ruffelle, original Eponine, winner of a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and mum of singer Eliza Doolittle

G is for Grantaire, a glorious character who spends most of his time onstage in an alcoholic glaze

H is for Hans Peter Janssen, the only Belgian actor to play JVJ in London

I is for I Dreamed a Dream, iconic song from Fantine, memorably performed by Lea Salonga at the 25th anniversary concert.  Went into the entertainment stratosphere with Susan Boyle’s Britain’s Got Talent audition

J is for John Owen-Jones, the youngest Jean Valjean (he was 26).  He most memorable Les Mis moment came in rehearsal with Claude-Michel Schonberg for the 25th anniversary tour.  John says “I was rehearsing Bring Him Home with Claude-Michel in a room backstage at the Barbican. We were running through the song when he suddenly stopped playing the piano and looked slowly around the room with a quizzical look on his face. Then he looked at me and said in that wonderful French accent of his: “Wait…zis room…it is where I wrote zis song!”

K is for Karrie, Peter who played JVJ for three years from 1986.  In a recent interview he told me that he worked with one Javert who made him corpse one day at the end of the cart scene: “he clicked his heels together and turned to walk off, his microphone was already off, and he said so only I could hear, if you don’t have that cart moved, I’ll have it clamped!  I laughed so much I had to feign a coughing fit and run off stage quickly!

L is for Lea Salonga who played Eponine in the 10th anniversary concert and Fantine in the 25th anniversary

M is for Mackintosh, Cameron, the producer of Les Mis as well as many more musicals around the world

N is for Norm Lewis, picked as his favourite Javert by Alfie Boe in his Club 24601 interview with thoughtsofjustafan

O is for One Day More – best ending to a first act in musical theatre bar none (the combination of Michael Ball and Ramin Karimloo is superb here):

P is for Peter Lockyer, current London JVJ –  first played JVJ whilst directing an amateur production in Hawaii

Q is for the Queen’s Theatre, home to the London production

R is for revolving stage, no longer in evidence in the Broadway show.  Dave Willetts remembers several shows in the early days where the stage stopped revolving at awkward moments, notably at the end of the barricade scene when all the dead actors had to get up and walk off stage in the full glare of the lights!

S is for the Soliloquy, favourite song of several of the Club 24601 JVJ’s

T is for Thenardier – a villain we love to love

U is for understudies – Dave Willetts understudied for Colm Wilkinson before taking over the lead when Wilkinson originated the role on Broadway

V is for Valjean, one of the most iconic roles in modern musicals and the Valjean Quartet from the 25th anniversary:

W is for writers, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer

X is for Enjolras’ xylophone vest at the barricades (trust me, it’s real) – big thanks to Debbie Bannigan for telling me!

Y is for young performers – Little Eponine, Little Cosette and Gavroche

Z is for Miz which is the twitter spelling for the Broadway production


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