Much of that credit goes to star George Takei, whose very presence onstage as a real-life camp survivor can’t help but charge a story about the resilience of a people with a veracity and dignity that would be hard to otherwise imagine. Takei opens the evening as the haunted, gravel-voiced WWII veteran Sam Kimura, who receives word of the death of his long-estranged sister, Kei (the marvelous Elena Wang), on Pearl Harbor Day in 2001. And it is in the ensuing flashback, where he reappears as the aged Kimura family patriarch, Ojii-chan, whose indomitable if impish spirit anchors the family through the humiliations and outrages of their four-year ordeal, where Takei most shines.

It’s ultimately a lot of history to pack into a 150-minute evening. But Kuo’s lively, 26-tune songbook (with flawless musical direction by Marc Macalintal), which mixes contemporary ballads, period swing-dance numbers (courtesy of choreographer Rumi Oyama) and even accents of traditional Japanese music, manages to hit all of its dramatic marks. It also provides a powerful showcase for Elena Wang, whose soaring vocals turn her solos on aspirational anthems like “Higher” or wistful numbers like “Wishes on the Wind” into certifiable show-stoppers.

See Original Article at LA Weekly

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