The Music Man of Manzanar (film)

Title The Music Man of Manzanar
Date 2007
Director Brian Tadashi Maeda
Narrator Brian Tadashi Maeda
Starring Arnold Maeda (interviewee); Bruce Kaji (interviewee); Mary Nomura (interviewee); Rosie Kakuuchi (interviewee); Brian Mulligan (Lou Frizzell); Jae Suh (Mary); Russ Riggins (Arnold)
Music Lou Frizzell; Ken Millen
Studio J-Town Pictures
Runtime 33 minutes
IMDB The Music Man of Manzanar

A short documentary film by Brian Tadashi Maeda about Lou Frizzell, who came to the World War II American concentration camp at Manzanar to teach drama and music to the Japanese American high school students who were imprisoned there. The film includes interviews with his former students, who were inspired by Frizell's ability to help the students temporarily forget their circumstances and lose themselves to the beauty and power of music and the joy of being young. The film also includes re-enactments of Manzanar High students performing parts of Frizzell's operetta Loud and Clear. The second half of the film turns its attention to Arnold Maeda, the filmmaker's older brother and a student of Frizzell's who performed in Loud and Clear; we attend a 2002 ceremony at Santa Monica High School in which Maeda and other Japanese American students receive the diplomas they were denied by the mass incarceration and visit the grand opening of the Manzanar Visitors Center in 2004. Music Man was funded by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and released in 2005.

Lou Frizzell, just twenty-three years old at the time, volunteered to go to Manzanar because he wanted to make a difference by teaching young people. After the war, he began acting on the New York regional stage and eventually progressed to film and TV work. He also made a cameo appearance in the 1976 film, Farewell to Manzanar.

Filmmaker Maeda was born in Manzanar in 1945, where his family was incarcerated for three years.

For more information

Official website:

Colborn-Roxworthy, Emily. "'Manzanar, the eyes of the world are upon you': Performance and Archival Ambivalence at a Japanese American Internment Camp." Theatre Journal 59.2 (May 2007): 189–214.