George Takei from ‘Star Trek’ comes to Utah to tell a musical work based on his life
The work, presented for the first time at the Moab Music Festival, is inspired by the actor’s childhood in an internment camp.
Film and TV icon George Takei to come to Moab on Labor Day weekend to recount the world premiere of a chamber music work inspired by his experience in Japanese-American internment camps during the Second World War.
The work, “Lost Freedom: A Memory” by composer Kenji Bunch, will debut on Saturday, September 4 at Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, as part of the Moab Music Festival, the festival announced on Wednesday.
The festival, in a statement, said it commissioned Bunch to write the work based on the speeches, personal writings and recollections of the “Star Trek” star, which were compiled by the festival’s music director, Michael Barrett. . The work is the first to be produced as part of the festival’s new Commissioning Club.
Takei, 84, was only two months away from his fifth birthday on February 19, 1942, when President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, ordering the forcible removal of some 120,000 US citizens of Japanese descent from their homes. on the West Coast. These citizens were relocated to camps far from the coast. (One of them was Topaz, near Delta, Utah.)
Takei’s family was forced to leave their home in Los Angeles to live in a “relocation center” in Arkansas and two sites in California during World War II. The text for “Lost Freedom” is based on Takei’s impressions of that time and the struggles of his family back in Los Angeles after the war.
In its release, the festival noted that Moab played a role in this tragic story. The Dalton Wells camp, originally established by the Civilian Conservation Corps about 13 miles north of Moab, was used as an “isolation camp,” where so-called “troublemakers” from other camps internment were sent.
“The conditions in Dalton Wells were worse than the conditions in the regular camps”, according to documents submitted to offer the site to the National Register of Historic Places, to which he was named in 1994. “The inmates, all male, were denied permission to visit Moab, their mail was censored and not allowed to contact with their families. “
Takei is best known for playing USS Enterprise coxswain Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” television series and six films in the franchise. He has become a human rights defender and icon for both African American and LGBT communities. He has 3.2 million followers on Twitter.
Takei helped translate her experience in the camps into a musical, “Allegiance,” which debuted in San Diego in 2012 and was performed on Broadway in 2015. was released in 2019.
Bunch, a violist and six other musicians will perform the work as part of a program featuring works by Japanese American composers. The other works on the program are: “Duo Lyrico” for violin and viola, and “Redwood” for viola and percussion, by composer Paul Chihara (who is also a survivor of the camps); and three movements from “Synesthesia Suite” by composer Andy Akiho (who also performs in the ensemble).
Tickets for the September 4th performance of “Lost Freedom” cost $ 40 each and are on sale on the festival’s website, moabmusicfest.org.