Actor and activist George Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, is in Little Rock this week to perform with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
While the orchestra plays, Takei will narrate A Survivor from Warsaw, a piece written by Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg in 1947. As narrator, Takei takes on the persona of Jewish concentration camp survivor.
“I’ve done a lot of concert narrations, but this is my first experience with this kind of red meat,” said Takei. “To do this performance in Arkansas where I have a chunk of my boyhood life is truly an honor.”
As a Japanese American, Takei spent part of his childhood in an interment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas during World War II. Takei says the entire concert takes the audience on a journey.
“We open with the horrific Nazi death camps in Europe and I become one of those Jews in Poland who suffered. Schönberg’s piece is very dark and challenging,” said Takei. “Then we follow it with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which concludes with Ode to Joy a piece filled with friendship, brotherhood, love, and anthemic celebration.”
Takei, the symphony, and over 400 vocalists from Arkansas perform at Robinson Center Music Hall in Little Rock Saturday at 8p.m. and Sunday at 3p.m. Follow the link at the top of the page to listen to FM89's full interview with George Takei.