Manzanar the Musical

The story of an American family

There are some stories that need to be told, a piece of history that is rarely spoken of or taught. 

The tale of Manzanar is one of those stories.

From the article:
Musical Revisits Dust and Tears of Manzanar

Several years in the making, "Manzanar" is loosely based on the childhood experiences of [Dan] Taguchi's mother and other family members. Its emotional course is charted through big-band, swing and classically orchestral songs that reflect adult anguish, teenage confusion and the bewilderment of children.

Tim Dang, East West Players' producing artistic director, gave the pair a call after hearing a demo tape of the work. "I told Dan [Taguchi] and Rus [McCoy], 'You've written a huge play,' " Dang said. " 'How is it that we can help you develop this?' "

"Manzanar is a very important event in the lives of Japanese Americans," Dang said, "something which affected not only people who were interned, but generations after."


Lynne Heffley, Los Angeles Times - March 29, 2003


“You’ve taken a challenging subject and have fashioned it into a compelling and original show. Throughout, the dialogue, book writing and structure are very good. I like the fact it took a while for Pearl Harbor to happen. When you got to it, because you spend time with this happy family, it landed for me in a way I didn’t anticipate. It was a gutsy choice that paid off for you. The music is very interesting and successful throughout. The blend of the pentatonic scale with American chords, its kind of Japanese but it’s kind of American. It was very successful!”

Stephen Schwartz 

(Wicked, Godspell, Pippin)DreamWorks/ASCAP Workshop in Los Angeles 

February 10, 2012