Born in Los Angeles in 1937, George Takei is a multi-award-winning actor and activist. He’s best known for playing Starfleet officer Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek franchise. Takei will make his London stage debut in Allegiance at the Charing Cross Theatre in 2023.
The Star Trek actor was born to Japanese-American parents. When Takei was a child, his family was interned in US concentration camps during World War Two as a consequence of Executive Order 9066. Takei’s family were then relocated to Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas and the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in California.
After a tumultuous childhood, Takei made his stage debut in Fly Blackbird, a musical inspired by student sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina. The performances took place at Inner City Cultural Center, a Los Angeles-basd multi-cultural arts organisation. A decade later, Takei made his Off-Broadway debut as Fred Eng in Frank Chin’s The Year of the Dragon. The play aimed to satirise American tourists who commodify Chinatowns worldwide.
In 2008, Takei attended a performance of In The Heights in New York, and was sat next to Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione. During the interval, Takei revealed his childhood to the pair, and the trio eventually collaborated on Allegiance, a musical recounting the lives of 120,000 Japanese-Americans interned in the United States.
Allegiance premiered at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre in 2012, followed by a Broadway run at the Longacre Theatre in 2015. In a New York Theatre Guide review, a critic said: " Allegiance will leave you thinking about loyalty and honor — Takei, who held this story in his heart for over 70 years, released it at precisely the right moment.”
In 2017, Takei then starred in Pacific Overtures, a Stephen Sondheim musical that explores Japan’s westernisation in the 20th century. In a New York Theatre Guide review, a critic said: “George Takei, who brings his sonorous baritone voice and impish deadpan to the role of the Reciter, and his droll, assured presence is alone worth the price of admission.”
Aside from his theatre career, Takei is best known for starring in Star Trek. He appeared in over 50 episodes as Hikuaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series from 1966 to 1969, and then reprised the role in several Star Trek films.
In 2023, Takei will make his London stage debut in Allegiance. He’ll reprise the role of Sam Kimura in the present day and “Ojii-chan” in the London production, alongside Telly Leung as Sam Kimura.
7 January 2023 - 8 April 2023