Manzanar: Story of an American Family (play)

Musical play centering on the experiences of the Shimada family, following them from their San Pedro, California, home to the Santa Anita Assembly Center and to Manzanar, told through the eyes of twelve-year-old protagonist Margaret. The play was co-written by Dan Taguchi and Rus McCoy and loosely based on the experiences of Taguchi's mother, who was a child at Manzanar. Various versions of the play have been featured in readings and performances since 2002, but there has been no full production of the play to date.

High school friends Taguchi, a middle school and high school music teacher, and McCoy, a banker and musician/playwright, began work on Manzanar: Story of an American Family in the early 1990s. The first reading of play took place at East West Players in 2002, followed by a reading of a two hour, forty-five minute version, backed with a small orchestra at the Japan America Theater in Los Angeles in 2003. In 2004–05, a 45 minute version of the play saw sixty-seven performances at Los Angeles schools as part of the East West Players' Theater for Youth program. More recently, the play was one of four musicals selected to be part of the ASCAP/DreamWorks Musical Theater Workshop in February 2012 at DreamWorks studios in Los Angeles. The most recent reading took place at Faith United Methodist Church in Torrance, California in April 2013. The play's creators continue to seek funding for a full production.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

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For More Information

Colborn-Roxworthy, Emily. "Trading 'Earnest Drama' for Prophecy: Performing Japanese American Internment after 9/11." Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 20.2 (Spring 2006): 25–48.

Manzanar: Story of An American Family official website: