San Diego Critics Name ‘Allegiance’ Best New Musical of 2012

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From left: Michael K. Lee, George Takei, Lea Salonga, Paolo Montalban, Allie Trimm, Telly Leung and Paul Nakauchi starred in “Allegiance” at The Old Globe. (Photo by Henry DiRocco)

LA JOLLA — “Allegiance,” a Broadway-bound musical about the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans, won in three categories at the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle’s 2012 Craig Noel Awards ceremony, held Monday at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla before an audience of nearly 500 people.

“Allegiance,” which had its world premiere and a successful run at The Old Globe, was named outstanding new musical. Also nominated were “Hands on a Hardbody” (La Jolla Playhouse), “Nobody Loves You” (The Old Globe), “Harmony, Kansas” (Diversionary Theatre), and the Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” (La Jolla Playhouse).

Michael K. Lee, who played resister Frankie Suzuki in “Allegiance,” was honored for outstanding featured performance in a musical (male). Also nominated were Anthony Carrillo for “Sweeney Todd” (Moonlight Stage Productions), David Kirk Grant and Kurt Norby for “Man of La Mancha” (Cygnet Theatre), and Taylor Peckham for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Musical” (Intrepid Shakespeare Company).

The third award for “Allegiance” went to musical director Lynne Shankel for outstanding orchestrations.

Actor George Takei, who starred in the show and developed it with Jay Kuo (music, lyrics, book) and Lorenzo Thione (book), commented, “I’m thrilled … What a night for our show. Now, it’s on to Broadway. I can’t wait.”

Lea Salonga (“Les Miserables,” “Miss Saigon”), who played Kei Kimura in “Allegiance,” was nominated for outstanding featured performance in a musical (female). The award went to Eileen Bowman for “Guys and Dolls” (Lamb’s Players Theater). Also nominated were Bowman for “Joe vs. the Volcano” (Lamb’s Players Theater), Lauren Molina for “Nobody Loves You,” and Karen Ziemba for “A Room with a View” (The Old Globe).

Stafford Arima of “Allegiance” was nominated for outstanding direction of a musical. The award went to Susan Stroman for “The Scottsboro Boys” (The Old Globe). Also nominated were Sean Murray for “Parade” (Cygnet Theatre), Michelle Tattenbaum for “Nobody Loves You,” and James Vasquez for “Harmony, Kansas.”

Howard Binkley of “Allegiance” was nominated for outstanding lighting design. The award went to Scott Zielinski for “An Iliad” (La Jolla Playhouse). Also nominated were Alan Burrett for “As You Like It” (The Old Globe), David Lander for “A Room with a View,” and Jean-Yves Tessier for “Fiddler on the Roof” (Moonlight Stage Productions).

Darrel Maloney of “Allegiance” was nominated for outstanding projection design. The award went to Ian Wallace for “Tortilla Curtain” (San Diego Repertory Theatre). Also nominated were Michael McKeon for “Joe vs. the Volcano” and Shawn Sagady for “American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose” (La Jolla Playhouse).

“Yoshimi and the Pink Robots,” which starred Kimiko Glenn in the title role, received a special award for outstanding technical achievement. The award honored the entire creative team of puppeteer Basil Twist, scenic designer Robert Brill, costumer Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Michael Walton, sound designer Steve Canyon Kennedy, and projections designer Sean Nieuwenhuis.

A total of 22 productions from nine theater companies were honored, led by “An Iliad” with five awards. Along with “Allegiance,” triple award winners were “Parade” and “The Scottsboro Boys.” Two awards each went to “A Raisin in the Sun” (Moxie Theatre), “Hickorydickory” (Moxie Theatre), and “The Little Flower of East Orange” (Ion Theatre).

The annual awards for outstanding San Diego theater are named for Craig Noel, founder and long-time artistic director of The Old Globe.

For updates on “Allegiance,” visit www.allegiancemusical.com.

The creative team of “Allegiance” (from left): Choreographer Andrew Palermo, director Stafford Arima, composer, lyricist and co-book writer Jay Kuo, co-book writer Lorenzo Thione, co-book writer Marc Acito, music supervisor, arranger and orchestrator Lynne Shakel, and music director Laura Bergquist. (Photo by Henry DiRocco)

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