ABC7 news anchor to tell story on legacy about Nisei soldier during World War II at Alley Theatre

Miya Shay Image
Saturday, May 18, 2024
ABC7 news anchor to tell story on legacy about Niesi soldiers during World War II at Alley Theatre
"Defining Courage" integrates live music, storytelling, journalism, and the captivating course of history. On Monday, May 20, the event will be showcased at the Alley Theatre.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As a young man growing up in Texas, TV anchor David Ono never thought much about his Japanese heritage. But now, he's the driving force behind one of the most riveting stories in World War II history, and he will be presenting it live on Monday at the Alley Theatre.

"People made the assumption that since I'm Japanese American and I grew up on military bases almost my entire life, I must be well versed on hearing about the Nisei Soldier," Ono recalled from his anchor desk at KABC in Los Angeles. "But I'd never heard the story before, until I moved to California and was anchoring the news here. In my time here, I started to meet these soldiers and hear their remarkable stories. At first, you deal with a little bit of shame from your ignorance. Why didn't I know this story already? But then I started to realize that it's not our fault or America's fault that we've never heard the story."

With no history books to guide him, Ono embarked on a remarkable journey to learn about the Nisei soldier. He learned that these young men, with their families in internment camps, volunteered to serve their country in the face of unrelenting racism. And they were extraordinary fighters.

"They're considered the greatest fighting unit in American military history for their size and length of service. Yet you don't see the miniseries about them. You don't see the movie about them. You don't see Hollywood embracing them," Ono said.

So, Ono decided to tell their story. He traveled to the battlegrounds of WWII across Europe and Asia, unearthing the history of these brave young men.

His work has culminated in a riveting stage show called "Defining Courage." The show combines journalism, story-telling, live music, and the compelling arc of history. It will be presented at the Alley Theatre for one night on Monday, May 20.

"We wanted to make it as human as possible, and understand that there are light moments. There are wonderful, beautiful moments that were part of their legacy as well. And so we brought that out. And then we combine that with music that is now all original."

Houstonian Donna Cole saw the show when it played to a sold-out audience at the Kennedy Center.

"Every time I see this show, "Defining Courage," I learn something more about our history," Cole, who is herself Japanese American, said.

Cole wanted to make sure Houstonians had a chance to see it for themselves, especially during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which is every May.

"I think if we keep telling these great stories of Asian contributions to the United States, maybe that hatred would go away and we'd feel like we belong," Cole said.

She's not the only Houstonian involved. Musicians from the Chamber Orchestra ROCO will be on stage, bringing Ono's story to life: American heroes who rose up against all odds to fight for their country and their own families.

"It's gripping. It's emotional. It's inspiring. And that's what I hope the audience gets out of this performance."

Doors open Monday night at 5:30 p.m. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception after the program. Both David Ono and actress Tamlyn Tomita (of Joy Luck Club and Karate Kid) will be present.

Tickets can be purchased at the Defining Courage Show's website.

There is a 50% discount code for veterans: TEXASVETS and a discount code for students: TXSTUDENTS.

On Monday, May 20, doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The event will last from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. with a reception after. The event will be at Neuhaus Stage at Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue Houston, TX 77002.

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