Allegiance’s Telly Leung said his parent’s wanted him to “become a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer”

  • Pin It

telly-leung-allegianceTelly Leung is currently starring in the new musical, Allegiance, which allows him to tell a compelling part of American history.  Leung plays a member of a Japanese-American family that is sent to an internment camp during WWII.

“Rarely have I been part of a theatrical experience where we get this kind of audience reaction,” Leung told U-T San Diego.  “The minute the curtain falls at the end of our show, these audiences are leaping to their feet.  I hope it’s because the story that we’ve just told for the last 2 ½ hours is something that really, really moves them, and that they’ve felt that they’ve been changed coming to the theater.”

Leung wasn’t always destined to be an actor.  His parents “had high aspirations for me to go to some Ivy League school and become a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer,” Leung said.  “They were pretty strict with me as a kid.  They had me do my homework and practice piano, and I couldn’t watch junk TV, as my parents called it.  Junk cartoons.  They would say, ‘only watch PBS.’  I only watched Sesame Street and Nova and Square One—television shows that were educational.  A lot of nature and science programs, right?”

“Well, lo and behold, Great Performances comes on and they’re showing the telecast of the Broadway production of Into the Woods…At 8 years old, I was hooked.  So their plan to have me only watch PBS and that Tiger Mom mentality of only studying and being very strict with me actually backfired.”

Leung ended up going to Carnegie Mellon University’s drama school and later landed parts in Broadway productions of Rent, Wicked and Godspell.  But the actor has currently found a deep connection to the character, Sam, he plays in Allegiance.

“As an actor, the way I got into Sam…the thing that I really understood is the duality of being Asian-American,” Leung said.  “They’re both capitalized for a reason because you’re equally both.  People ask me all the time, ‘Do you feel limited by your race in the business?’  And I go, ‘Well, certainly there are times that I feel that way, but I can never let that stop me from trying to achieve what I want to achieve.’  I live in a world of possibility…and I think Sammy is very much that way, too.”

Allegiance is currently playing at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre through October 28.

 

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/watch-andy-serkis-talks-motion-c.jpg
Watch: Andy Serkis Talks Motion Capture, His Career and More
This week saw the release of the final film in The Lord of the Rings saga, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Out of the dozens of actors who appeared in the series, the one whose career was most defined by the six-film franchise is Andy Serkis, who portrayed Gollum in the series […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/dan-stevens-summer-in-february.jpg
Dan Stevens Recalls When Shia LaBeouf Disrupted One of His Broadway Performances: “I wish I’d had a broadsword then”
Though Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is billed as the final movie in the fantasy series, it still incorporates some new blood into the mix alongside franchise favorites like Ben Stiller and Robin Williams. The most significant new addition is Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey, who plays Lancelot. Lancelot doesn’t realize that […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bradley-cooper-the-elephant-man.jpg
Bradley Cooper Takes A Grad School Dream To The Broadway Stage With, ‘The Elephant Man’
Bradley Cooper is proving to be an actor who wants a career defined by strong work. Instead of solely relying upon franchises like The Hangover, the Oscar nominee is mixing it up again between the big screen and the stage. Cooper is starring in The Elephant Man on Broadway this theatre season. It’s a role […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bob-balaban-a-delicate-balance.jpg
Bob Balaban on Being a Character Actor: “It’s what I do and who I am and I really enjoy it”
With Glenn Close and John Lithgow in the cast of Broadway’s A Delicate Balance, it’s okay if you didn’t notice that veteran actor Bob Balaban is also in the cast. Balaban, who is probably best known for his roles in Christopher Guest‘s mockumentaries and for his supporting roles in dozens of other films, has returned […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/michael-c-hall-hedwig.jpg
Michael C. Hall on His Broadway Life After ‘Dexter': “There was a desire to perform an exorcism”
When it was announced that Michael C. Hall was replacing Andrew Rannells in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, it was a bit of a surprise. It wasn’t that people thought Hall couldn’t pull off the role of a transgender rock star — he was previously on Broadway as the Master of Ceremonies in […]