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

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/2015/07/kit-harington-game-of-thrones.jpg
Kit Harington: “You got into this job to play roles and depict characters, celebrity is an unfortunate side effect”
“I kind of weirdly fell into being an action hero…I have no f— idea how that happened. You have to remind people that you want to act rather than just run around" - Kit Harington
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/dustin-hoffman.jpg
Dustin Hoffman: “It’s the worst that film has ever been – in the 50 years that I’ve been doing it”
“I was a freak accident, so I got a lead that happened to be The Graduate and it was like a light switch went on and I was an instant star" - Dustin Hoffman
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/channing-tatum-magic-mike-xxl.jpg
Channing Tatum’s Reddit AMA Covered Everything from ‘Magic Mike XXL’, His “Bad” Acting in ‘Step Up’ and Frozen Poop
"I do get nervous to act, it kind of depends on what it is really." - Channing Tatum
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/true-detective-taylor-kitsch.jpg
Taylor Kitsch on Living Up to Season One of ‘True Detective’ and Sleeping on New York City Subways
"I had someone very close to me say to me that hopefully I’ll have many more ups and downs, not in just my career but in life. If you don’t have that, you’re not taking enough risks." - Taylor Kitsch
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Sutton-Foster-Younger.jpg
Sutton Foster Talks Ageism and Her Need To Be Creative
"Even when I’m not working, I’m still working on something because I just want to create something." - Sutton Foster