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Tell Us In Ten: Telly Leung

First Published 12 January 2023, Last Updated 18 January 2023

In our profile series, Tell Us In 10, we ask cast members and creatives of top London shows to tell us all about themselves in just 10 questions. From how their castmates would describe them and alternative careers, to their Theatreland idols, we want to know it all!

This week, we hear from Telly Leung, who is currently playing Young Sammy Kimura in George Takei’s Allegiance.

Find out more about Telly and his career so far below:

1. My route into theatre was…

The original Broadway production of Sondheim’s INTO THE WOODS (starring Bernadette Peters, Chip Zien, Joanna Gleason, etc). It was filmed live at the Martin Beck Theatre (now the Al Hirschfeld) and broadcast on PBS. I was eight years old and I was hooked!

2. My West End idol is…

Imelda Staunton. I saw her play Mama Rose at the Savoy, and she was equally heart-breaking and appropriately terrifying in the role. It was a true tour-de-force performance.

3. My colleagues would describe me as…

“bubbly”. I’m told I’m an endless ball of energy. I have no idea if that’s accurate or not, as I certainly know I get tired. But, maybe that’s NOT what my colleagues experience.

4. My favourite show present or past (that isn’t one I star in) is…

It is so hard to pick a favourite- but the first show that pops in my mind is RENT. I saw the original production when I was a teenager and it was the show of my generation. It was the show that made me want to DO theatre. I had to pinch myself nightly when I joined the final company on Broadway because it was such a dream come true.

5. The career moment I’m most proud of is…

Getting the opportunity to create a role from scratch and originate it on Broadway. Sammy in Allegiance was that opportunity for me, and I am so grateful to get this chance to revisit the show again and be part of the UK premiere. I’m relishing every moment of being here. 

6. The hardest part about my role is…

The emotional arc Sammy has to go through. Not only does he experience the trauma of the Japanese-American  internment, but also the PTSD of serving in WW2 as well as the pain of that experience tearing his family apart. It is a heavy show to do every night. Luckily, Allegiance has always had a history of having a supportive and loving company that keeps the mood loving and light off-stage. (It’s a love fest backstage).

7. If I wasn’t an actor, I would be…

Working at the United Nations. I love languages and immersing myself in different cultures. One of my favourite parts of being in show business is getting to travel and perform all over the world. 

8. Something people don’t know about me is…

My absolute hatred of water chestnuts. I’m Chinese and it’s often used in Cantonese cooking, and I despise it. 

9. The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…

Don’t try to be anyone else, but YOU. You can’t mess up being “YOU.”

10. The one thing I wish I could tell my younger self is…

… see #9!!!!

Tagged:
Allegiance charing cross theatre George Takei

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