Kate Baldwin, Bryce Pinkham, Thom Sesma, Julia Abueva and More Set for John Logan and Tom Kitt’s SUPERHERO at Second Stage

Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang

Continuing its 40th Anniversary Season, Second Stage Theater has announced complete casting for the world premiere musical, Superhero. Directed by Jason Moore, the production features a book by John Logan and music and lyrics by Tom Kitt.

Julia Abueva (Rachel), JAKE LEVY (Dwayne), Salena Qureshi (Vee), Thom Sesma (Vic) and Nathaniel Stampley (Dean Fulton) will join previously announced stars Kate Baldwin (Charlotte), Bryce Pinkham (Jim) and newcomer Kyle McArthur (Simon).

SUPERHERO will begin previews January 31, 2019 at the Tony Kiser Theater (305 West 43rd Street) and will officially open on February 28, 2019. Subscriptions are available now starting at $255 by calling the Second Stage Box Office at 212-246-4422.

Before we can save the world, we have to save each other. From the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer of Next to Normal and the Tony Award-winning writer of Red comes a deeply human new musical about a fractured family, the mysterious stranger in apartment 4-B, and the unexpected hero who just might save the day.


Julia Abueva (Rachel) made her New York stage debut in the critically acclaimed production of KPOP at Ars Nova. West End: Miss Saigon (Kim u/s). Other stage credits include: Cinderella (Newport Performing Arts Theater); Singapore premieres of Next to Normal(Natalie) and Spring Awakening (Wendla); Manila premieres of Into the Woods (Little Red Riding Hood) and Aspects of Love (Young Jenny); and Philippine Repertory’s production of The Fantasticks (Luisa). Julia co-starred in the Amazon comedy pilot “Making Friends.” Upcoming film: Stella’s Last Weekend (opp. Nat Wolff).

Kate Baldwin (Charlotte) recently appeared in the Tony Award winning Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! for which she received Tony Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations. Other Broadway credits include Finian’s Rainbow (Tony Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Award nominations), Big Fish, Wonderful Town, Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Full Monty. Off-Broadway, she received Drama Desk nominations for her work in The Keen Company’s production of John & Jen and The Public Theatre’s production of Michael John LaChuisa’s Giant. Also off-Broadway: Songbird at 59E59 Street Theaters. Film: Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best. TV: “Law & Order: SVU”. PBS: “First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb” and “Live From Lincoln Center: Stephen Sondheim’s Passion.” Concerts: Chicago Humanities Festival, NSO, PSO and the American Songbook Series. Recording: Let’s See What Happens and She Loves Him: Live at Feinstein’s (PS Classics).

JAKE LEVY (Dwayne) is thrilled to make his Second Stage Theater debut. He earned his BA from the UCLA Ray Bolger Musical Theater Program in 2018. Favorites: Carrie (Tommy Ross), Carousel (Jigger), Pippin (Pippin) and Dogfight (Fector). Regional: 13 The Musical, Rent, Les Misérables and Hairspray. @Jlevy31

Kyle McArthur (Simon) will be making his professional theatrical debut with this production after playing Simon in the O’Neill NMTC reading of Superhero. Other readings include Disney’s Freaky Friday (Adam), Rapture (Andy), Stuck (Rayce), and The America Project (Cam).

Bryce Pinkham (Jim) is most widely known for originating the role of ‘Monty Navarro’ in the Tony Winning Musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, for which he was nominated for Tony, Grammy, and Drama Desk awards. He soon after appeared in the Broadway revival of The Heidi Chronicles and was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance in 2015. His other Broadway credits include Holiday Inn, Ghost the Musical, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. He most recently starred in Benny and Joon, a new musical adaptation of the 1993 movie starring Johnny Depp at The Old Globe Theater. His latest onscreen appearances include Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix series The Get Down, Robert De Niro’s The Comedian, and as a series regular on PBS’s Civil War drama series Mercy Street. His other TV credits include Blindspot, The Good Wife and Person of Interest.

Salena Qureshi (Vee). Second Stage debut! Film: Draupadi Unleashed, My Cousin Sister’s Wedding, All These Small Moments (Tribeca FF), Friends and Romans. TV: Recurring on “Madam Secretary” (CBS). Also seen on “The Brave” (NBC), “The Path” (Hulu), “Girls” (HBO). Theater: Evita (Mistress, Maine State).

Thom Sesma (Vic) recently appeared as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in the off-Broadway revival at Barrow Street Theatre. He was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for his portrayal of roles in John Doyle’s acclaimed 2017 revival of another Sondheim classic, Pacific Overtures. Broadway credits include The Times They Are A-Changin’, Man of La Mancha, Search and Destroy, Chu Chem, and national tours of The Lion King, Miss Saigon and Titanic. Other appearances off-Broadway: Discord (Primary Stages), Awake and Sing! (NAATCO/Public Theatre), Othello (Public Theatre), Cymbeline (NYSF). Regional credits include the McCarter, Yale Rep, Arena Stage, Old Globe, Cincinnati Playhouse, Signature Theatre, Centre Stage, Music Theatre Wichita and more. Television guest appearances include “Instinct,” “Madam Secretary,” “The Good Wife,” “Gotham,” “Jessica Jones,” “Person of Interest” and others. Previous credits at Second Stage: Eric Overmyer’s In a Pig’s Valise and Baba Goya by Steve Tesich, both in 1989. Instagram @thsesma; Twitter @ThomSesmaNYC.

Nathaniel Stampley (Dean Fulton). Broadway: Cats, The Color Purple (original and revival), The Lion King, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. Off-Broadway: Big Love, Signature Theatre; Fiorello! and Lost in the Stars, NY City Center’s Encores!; The First Noel, Classical Theatre of Harlem. Regional: Lempicka, Williamstown Theatre Festival; Man of La Mancha (Jeff Award), The Bridges of Madison County (Jeff nomination), Ragtime, Marriott Theatre; Hatuey: Memory of Fire, Music-Theatre Group. Concerts: Candide(Carnegie Hall); West Side Story, Bernstein’s MASS (Philadelphia Orchestra). Ten Chimneys Fellow, UW-Madison alum.nathanielstampley.com



Ruthie Ann Miles, Bryce Pinkham, Karen Olivo, Christopher Vo, Ericka Hunter and More Set for Revamped CHESS at the Kennedy Center, February 14 – 18

Ruthie Ann Miles
Ruthie Ann Miles
Ruthie Ann Miles

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts launches the inaugural season of Broadway Center Stage with CHESS, the epic rock opera about love and political intrigue set against the backdrop of the Cold War as two superpowers attempt to manipulate an international chess championship for political ends.

Written in 1984 by songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (Mamma Mia!) and lyricist Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King, Evita), CHESS has been seen in numerous productions around the world. The original concept album spawned two international hit singles, “I Know Him So Well” and “One Night in Bangkok.”

Presented as a part of Broadway Center Stage, a Kennedy Center-produced series of musicals in semi-staged concerts, CHESS will run February 14-18, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater.

CHESS, which enjoyed a three-year run in London’s West End in 1986 and played Broadway in 1988, has been revised with a new book by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning writer Danny Strong (“Empire,” The Butler, Game Change).

“I have always been enormously proud of CHESS,” said Tim Rice. “Revisiting this show with a new book by Danny Strong is an exciting opportunity. I am delighted that CHESS will have a new world premiere at the Kennedy Center.”

Directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Spring Awakening), CHESS stars Raúl Esparza (Company, the Kennedy Center’s Sunday in the Park with George and Merrily We Roll Along) as American chess champion Freddie Trumper; Ramin Karimloo (Anastasia) as rival Russian chess star Anatoly Sergievsky; Tony Award winner Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I, Here Lies Love) as Anatoly’s wife, Svetlana Sergievsky; and Tony Award winner Karen Olivo (West Side Story, In the Heights) as Florence Vassy, a remarkable Hungarian refugee who becomes the center of the emotional triangle. Joining them are Bradley Dean (Dear Evan Hansen) as Ivan Molokov, Sean Allan Krill (Honeymoon in Vegas) as Walter Anderson, and Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) as the Arbiter.

The CHESS ensemble includes Paige Faure, Nkrumah Gatling, Casey Garvin, Adam Halpin, Ericka Hunter, Sean MacLaughlin, Morgan Marcell, Marissa McGowan, Chelsea Turbin, Christopher Vo, Minami Yusui, and Ricardo Zayas. Additional casting, creative team, and designers will be announced shortly.

Broadway Center Stage: CHESS will be performed Wednesday, February 14-Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 8 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, February 18. Tickets from $49 are currently on sale. For more information visit the Kennedy Center website, in-person at the Kennedy Center box office, or call (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324.