Allegiance, the Broadway musical about Japanese interment during World War II, is going to be back on the big screen this month. According to Playbill, the December 2016 screening was so successful that an encore date has been set for February 19 this year.
I've been wanting to see this show ever since I first heard about it in 2011, back when it was workshop in California. Last year I almost splurged and went to New York to see it live just before it closed on Broadway, but just couldn't swing it. Then in December, I had to put my car in the shop and couldn't go the night it played in the local art house cinema. But evidently a lot more people did: it was the "highest-grossing one-night Broadway musical" they've presented at the movies, prompting them to schedule another day.
My first exposure to this subject matter was in middle school, when I read Farewell to Manzanar a memoir of a young girl's experiences moving to an interment camp. It's a story that's stuck with me ever since. While we like to only remember the Eastern theater of war, the Pacific was arguably more of an issue during that time period. People of Japanese descent were interned for fear of them helping the enemy, despite being US citizens, while people of German descent were not. You can learn more over at the online exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History.
The screening of Allegiance is set to appear on the same day that the Executive Order responsible for the interment was signed, now recognized by many states as a Day of Remembrance to remember the people who lost their homes and their freedom. Here are the words President George H. Bush used when he officially apologized for the events that took place:
"In remembering, it is important to come to grips with the past. No nation can fully understand itself or find its place in the world if it does not look with clear eyes at all the glories and disgraces, too, of the past."