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.

BIOGRAPHIES

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

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Raul Esparza, Thom Sesma, George Abud, Christopher Gurr, Mahira Kakkar, Eddie Cooper, Elizabeth A. Davis and Omozé Idehenre Set for Classic Stage Company’s THE RESISTABLE RISE OF ARTURO UI, October 30 – December 22

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

Classic Stage Company is presenting The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Bertolt Brecht’s unsettlingly timeless work, which kicks off CSC’s 2018-2019 season on October 30, with rehearsals beginning this week. Directed by John Doyle, this comical yet disturbing play from one of the greatest political satirists of all time follows a Depression-era Chicago mobster, Arturo Ui, who, with the help of his henchmen, manipulates and murders his way to totalitarian rule of the cauliflower trade. Society, of course, fails to act upon his “resistible rise.”

Four-time Tony Award nominee and “Law and Order: SVU” alum Raúl Esparza plays the Al Capone-like, Hitler-paralleling Arturo Ui in this production. Joining him is a talented cast that includes George Abud (CSC: Nathan The Wise, Peer Gynt, Allegro; Broadway: The Band’s Visit), Eddie Cooper (Off-Broadway: Atlantic Theater Company’s This Ain’t No Disco; TV: “Forever,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Banshee,” “The Night Of”),Tony nominee Elizabeth A. Davis (CSC: Caucasian Chalk Circle, Allegro; Broadway: Once; TV: “Law & Order: SVU,” “Blue Bloods,”), Christopher Gurr (Broadway: Cats, Tuck Everlasting, Kinky Boots, Amazing Grace, All the Way; National Tours: Memphis, Monty Python’s Spamalot), Omozé Idehenre (Her Portmanteau at the Boston Court Theater, Good Grief at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Caucasian Chalk Circle at ACT; Film: On the Road), Mahira Kakkar (Henry VI at NAATCO and The Winter’s Tale at TFANA, TV: “Friends From College,” “Blacklist,” “The Big C”),and Thom Sesma (CSC: Pacific Overtures; Broadway: The Times They are A-Changin’, Man of La Mancha; TV: “The Good Wife,” “Madam Secretary,” “Jessica Jones”).

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim 

The creative team includes Anne Hould-Ward (Costume Design), Jane Cox and Tess James (Lighting Design), Matt Stine (Sound Design), Bernita Robinson (Production Stage Manager) and Jessica Fleischman (Assistant Stage Manager).

John Doyle says of Arturo Ui, “Everyday I read the play, I think, ‘I hear these words on CNN as I read them on the page.’ The play will be falling right around the midterm elections, and it’s fitting that it reminds us of the choices that are available to us in relation to the way the world can go. That really is at the foundation of what classical theater says. Classic plays have politics at their heart-you take a play like Richard III or the Scottish Play-they’re warnings. And there’s a warning in Arturo Ui. This is a time for theater to say something; if we’re not screaming and shouting now, when are we ever going to do it?”

Brecht wrote Arturo Ui in 1941, while in exile from Nazi Germany, in Finland. During that time, he was awaiting his U.S. visa, and thereby imagined a vision of totalitarianism fit for America, and the American stage. (Though the play, ultimately, was never performed until 1958 in Germany, after Brecht’s death.) In Arturo Ui, Brecht recast and reframed the fascism whose roots he had experienced firsthand, before leaving Germany for fear of persecution for his politically scalding works in 1933. Within a make-believe, vaudevillian portrayal of American mafia culture, the narrative of Arturo Ui is written to meticulously parallel events and individuals that brought the Third Reich to power, and led them to overtake their neighbors.

Though this is a highly contemporary work in the vast history of theater canon, Arturo Ui has a classical air, its “epic theatre” style emblematic of Classic Stage Company’s work. Written largely in verse, Brecht’s play nods to Richard III, speaking to the ubiquity of violent authority through time-while foreshadowing its potential for reemergence any time in the present and future. Before directing Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle in 2010, Doyle’s acclaimed style-often minimal and anti-naturalist, highlighting ensemble casts, making visible the act of performance-was noted for having already deeply incorporated Brechtian qualities. With the democratic ethos and introspection-inducing nature of Brecht’s and Doyle’s theater-making, the production takes to heart our ability to resist violent power structures.

Performances of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui take place at Classic Stage Company (136 E 13th St, New York), with previews beginning Tuesday, October 30, 2018. The production opens Wednesday, November 14, 2018, and closes Saturday, December 22. Performance times are Tues.-Thurs. at 7pm, Fri.-Sat. at 8pm, and Sat.-Sun. at 2pm.

There will be no Saturday matinee on the first Saturday, November 3, 2018. A student matinee scheduled for Wednesday, November 29, 2018. There will be no performances on Thursday, November 22, 2018 or Friday, November 23, 2018 due to Thanksgiving.

Tickets are currently on sale to members. Members receive the best prices, flexibility, exclusive benefits, and invitations to special events throughout the season. Memberships begin at $50 ($25 for Students). For more information visit classicstage.org or call 212.677.4210.

Single tickets ($75 previews, $80 post opening, $125 prime) are currently on sale, and can be purchased at classicstage.org or 212-352-3101(or toll free 866-811-411).

About the Cast
George Abud (Clark) is a proud Arab-American actor. CSC: Nathan The Wise (opposite F. Murray Abraham), Peer Gynt (opposite Gabriel Ebert), Allegro (dir. John Doyle). Broadway: The Band’s Visit starring Katrina Lenk & Tony Shalhoub (OBC Recording), The Visit starring Chita Rivera & Roger Rees (OBC Recording). Off-Broadway: The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company, dir. David Cromer). International: The New Prince with Barbara Walsh, Marc Kudisch & Paulo Szot (Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam). Regional: Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Geva Theatre Center), Fiddler on the Roof (Human Race Theatre). Please consider joining George in supporting these incredible organizations: anera.org, sams-usa.net, maketheroadny.org.

Eddie Cooper (Roma) Atlantic Theater Company: This Ain’t No Disco (The D.A.). Bucks County Playhouse: The New World (Miles Standish). Encores! Off Center: Assassins; God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (Jerome); and Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey II); Two Rivers: All-male A Funny Thing Happened… (Domina). TV: “Delco Proper”, “Forever”, “Mozart In The Jungle”, recurring on Cinemax’s “Banshee” as Fat Au and HBO’s Emmy nominated “The Night Of”. Proud graduate of Laguardia High School & Ithaca College. Big thanks to my family, and the team at Judy Boals Inc, and Ivy Rock Management. @MrEddieCooper

Elizabeth A. Davis (Giri) CSC: Caucasian Chalk Circle, Allegro (Drama Desk Nom; Dir John Doyle). Broadway: Once (Tony Award Nom; Dir John Tiffany). Select Off-Broadway: My Name’s Not Indian Joe (Book, Music, Lyrics; Director Don Scardino), King Lear, Zorba! (City Center Encores), Four Last Things (American Globe Theatre), Dust Can’t Kill Me (NYMF Award; Dir. Srda Vasiljevic) 39 Steps (New World Stages). Select Regional: Rain (The Old Globe), The Devil’s Disciple, The Misanthrope (STNJ), Once (American Repertory Theatre) Streetcar Named Desire (The Cleveland Playhouse). Film: Wisdom Tooth, Trauma Is A Time Machine, Blur Circle. TV: “L&O SVU,” “Blue Bloods,” “Jim Gaffigan Show, ” “Fringe.” BFA, MFA.

Raúl Esparza (Arturo Ui) is a Cuban-American actor, who has received Tony nominations for his performances in Broadway productions of Taboo, Company, Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, and David Mamet’s Speed The Plow. Other Broadway credits include the revival of The Rocky Horror Show, and the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He recently served as an actor and creative consultant for Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s second Main Stage Powerhouse production of The Waves, a musical adaptation of the novel by Virginia Woolf. He is known for his roles in TV series such as “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Hannibal,” “Bojack Horseman,” and “The Path,” and in film as a voice artist in the Oscar-nominated Twentieth Century Fox animated feature Ferdinand, as well as the 2010 horror thriller, My Soul to Take.

Christopher Gurr (Dogsborough) Broadway: Cats (dir. Trevor Nunn, chor. Andy Blankenbuehler), Tuck Everlasting, Kinky Boots, Amazing Grace, and All The Way with Bryan Cranston. National Tours: Memphis (dir. Christopher Ashley), Monty Python’s Spamalot (dir. Mike Nichols). Regional: The Sting (Paper Mill), Titanic (Pittsburgh CLO), Copenhagen, 1776, Twelve Angry Men (Geva), Tommy, Oklahoma! (Berkshire Theatre Festival), The Lion in Winter (Indiana Rep), The Drowsy Chaperone (Human Race). Television: “Madame Secretary.” Guest Artist/Educator at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Webster University, St. Louis, and Geva Theatre, Rochester, NY. Proud union member: Actors’ Equity, SAG/AFTRA, and Stage Directors & Choreographers Society. ChristopherGurr.com

Omozé Idehenre (Mrs. Dullfleet) Her Portmanteau (Boston Court Theater), Good Grief (Kirk Douglas), Runboyrun (Magic Theatre), Gem of the Ocean, The Convert, Seven Guitars(Marin Theatre Company), The Comedy of Errors and Richard III (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), The Winter’s Tale, Spunk, Macbeth (California Shakespeare Company), Clybourne Park, Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Scorched, A Doll’s House, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (American Conservatory Theater). Film: On the Road. Education: MFA, The American Conservatory Theater and The Groundlings.

Mahira Kakkar (Flake / Dockdaisy) was born in Kolkata, India. Selected theater: Henry VI (NAATCO), The Winter’s Tale (TFANA), The Importance of Being Earnest (Two River), Monsoon Wedding with Mira Nair, Miss Witherspoon and Vanya, Sonia… with Christopher Durang, Clive with Ethan Hawke. Film/TV: Hank and Asha (Slamdance favorite, Best Actress Napa Film Festival, Best Actress Wild Rose Film Festival), Hechki, Bite Me, “Friends From College”, “Law and Order”, “Louie”, “Odd Mom Out”, “Blacklist”, “Blue Bloods”, “The Big C.” Training: Juilliard. Website: mahirakakkar.com

Thom Sesma (Givola) CSC: Pacific Overtures (Lortel nom., Featured Actor, Musical). Broadway/National Tours: The Times They Are-A Changin’, Lion King, Miss Saigon, Titanic, Man of La Mancha (2002 revival), Face Value, Search and Destroy, Nick & Nora. Off-Broadway: Sweeney Todd (Barrow Street Theatre), Discord (Primary Stages), Awake and Sing! (NAATCO/Public Theatre), Othello (Public Theatre/NYSF), Cymbeline (NYSF). Regional: McCarter Theatre, Yale Rep, Arena Stage, Centre Stage, Old Globe, Cincinnati Playhouse, Signature Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse and more. Recent television: “Instinct,” “The Good Wife,” “Madam Secretary,” “Person of Interest,” “Jessica Jones,” “Gotham.” Connect with Thom via Twitter: @ThomSesmaNYC, Instagram: @thsesma.

About the Creative Team
John Doyle (Director) first joined CSC in 2013 as Associate Director, and became Artistic Director in 2016. He has directed productions of Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures (2017) and Passion (2013, Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro (2014, Drama League Nomination, Best Revival of a Musical), as well as Dead Poets Society (2016), Peer Gynt (2016), and As You Like It (2017).

Additional theater in the U.S. includes: The Color Purple (Tony Award, Best Revival of a Musical; Drama Desk Award, Best Director of a Musical), Sweeney Todd (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, Best Director of a Musical; Drama Desk Nomination Outstanding Set Design of a Musical), Company (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Awards Best Musical Revival; Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, Outstanding Director of a Musical), A Catered Affair (Drama League Award, Best Musical Production; Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), The Visit (Tony Nomination, Best Musical; Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), Ten Cents a Dance (Williamstown/ McCarter), The Exorcist (The Geffen, LA), Road Show (Public Theater/Menier Chocolate Factory), Where’s Charlie? and Irma La Douce (Encores!), Wings (Second Stage), A Bed and a Chair (City Center), Kiss Me Kate (Stratford), Caucasian Chalk Circle (ACT), Merrily We Roll Along and Three Sisters (Cincinnati).

In the U.K., John Doyle has been Artistic Director of four regional theaters: The Worcester Swan, The Cheltenham Everyman, The Liverpool Everyman, The York Theatre Royal, and was also Associate Director of the Watermill Theatre, Newbury. During these residencies, he directed numerous productions of new and classic works. Notable credits include: Female Parts, Sweeney Todd, Gondoliers, Mack and Mabel (West End), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Oklahoma! (Chichester), Amadeus (Wilton’s Music Hall), The Millenium Cylce of Mystery Plays (London), Carmen, Fiddler on the Roof (Watermill), The War of the Roses, The Madness of George III (York), The White Devil, Othello, Candide (Liverpool). He is co-author of Shakespeare For Dummies.

Ann Hould-Ward (Costume Designer) CSC: Passion, Allegro, Peer Gynt, Dead Poets Society, Pacific Overtures, As You Like It, Fire and Air. Select Broadway: The Color Purple, The Visit, The People in the Picture, A Free Man of Color (Drama Desk nom.), A Catered Affair (Drama Desk nom.), Beauty and the Beast (Tony Award), Into the Woods (Tony and Drama Desk noms), Falsettos, Sunday in the Park With George (Tony and Drama Desk noms), Saint Joan, Little Me. Other Off-Broadway: Notes from the Field, The Blue Flower, Russian Transport, Road Show, Lobster Alice, Cymbeline. Ms. Hould-Ward’s work can be seen in over 35 international companies of Beauty and the Beast, and her other designs are featured in shows all over the world. More than 100 regional theater credits. Recipient of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Patricia Zipprodt Award.

Jane Cox (Lighting Designer) CSC: Pacific Overtures, Peer Gynt, Allegro, Passion and Winter’s Tale. Broadway: Jitney (Tony nom.); Amelie, Color Purple (Drama Desk nom.); Machinal (Tony and Drama Desk nom); All the Way; Come Back, Little Sheba; Picnic. Jane is a member of theMonica Bill Barnes Dance Company, has a long collaboration with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and is the director of the theater program at Princeton University.

Tess James (Lighting Designer) is a freelance Lighting Designer and Associate based in New York. Her recent projects as a designer include Roe at Asolo Rep and as an associate designer include Soft Power at The Curran Theatre and The Public Theatre’s Othello; Throughout her career she has working with a array of amazing intuitions including BAM, New York City Center and the Sydney Opera House. She is currently an artist in residence at Princeton University.

Matt Stine (Sound Designer) Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include: Sweeney Todd (Sound Design, Barrow Street Theatre), The Liar (Sound Design, Classic Stage Company ), A Christmas Carol (Music Producer, McCarter Theater), Dead Poets Society (Sound Design, Classic Stage Company), The Clearing (Sound Designer, 59E59), The Black Crook (Sound Design, Abrons Art Center), Nathan The Wise (Sound Design, Classic Stage Company), Misery (Music Producer, Broadway), Mother Courage And Her Children (Sound Design, Classic Stage Company), The Tempest (Music Producer, Delacorte Theater), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Music Supervisor, Delacorte Theater) 27sound.com

Bernita Robinson (Production Stage Manager) is very happy to return to CSC with this wonderful production. Previous CSC Productions: PSM for Carmen Jones. Broadway credits include Ragtime(original) Thurgood, Man of La Mancha (revival), A Moon for the Misbegotten (revival), Aida, Beauty and the Beast among others. Regional theatre credits include Alabama Shakespeare, Pioneer Theater, Kansas City Rep and Casa Manana – productions of Ring of Fire, A Few Good Men, Evita and the world premiere of Roof of the World. Off-Broadway productions at Signature, Playwrights Horizons, The York, among others. Member of AEA National Council.

Jessica Fleischman (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to return to Classic Stage Company after working on Fire and Air this past winter! National Tours: Jersey Boys (2nd Nat’l). Off-Broadway: Jersey Boys (New World Stages), Little Rock (Sheen Center), King Liz, The Other Thing (2ST), Red Eye of Love (Amas Musical Theatre), Normativity (NYMF). Regional: Where Storms Are Born (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Opera: Piramo e Tisbe (LOTNY). Jessica is a proud graduate of Penn State University. http://www.Jessica-Fleischman.com

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Original Cast Members Jake Boyd, Betsy Morgan & Joseph Taylor Return to SWEENEY TODD for Final Weeks

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The Tooting Arts Club award-winning production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which recently became the longest running production of Sweeney Todd on record, runs through August 26th at the Barrow Street Theatre. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.SweeneyToddNYC.com.

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Beginning Tuesday, July 31st, returning cast member Jake Boyd (as “Anthony”) and original cast members Betsy Morgan (as “Pirelli & Beggar Woman”) and Joseph Taylor (as “Tobias” – also original Tooting production cast member) join current cast members Thom Sesma (as “Sweeney Todd”), Sally Ann Triplett (as “Mrs. Lovett”), Michael James Leslie (as “Judge Turpin”), John Rapson (as “The Beadle”), and DeLaney Westfall (as “Johanna”). The cast also includes Daniel Berryman, Laura Darrell, Matt Leisy, Liz Pearce, Monet Sabel, Drew Seigla and Haley Swindal.

Tooting Arts Club production of Sweeney Todd, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler from an adaptation by Christopher Bond, and directed by Bill Buckhurst, is the winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival, the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical Revival and the Best Off-Broadway Musical, Theater Fans’ Choice Award. It was named “Best of the Year!” by Time, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, Variety, Forbes, BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast.

Michael James Leslie as Judge Turpin and Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michael James Leslie as Judge Turpin and Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Sweeney Todd features set and costume designs by Simon Kenny, music supervision and arrangements by Benjamin Cox, music direction by Matt Aument, choreography by Georgina Lamb, lighting design by Amy Mae, sound design by Matt Stine, casting by Telsey + Company / Cesar A. Rocha, CSA and production stage management by Joanna Muhlfelder.

Immersing audiences in a completely new theatrical experience, this production of the classic tale of blood thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London. Tooting Arts Club first mounted this Sweeney Todd in the winter of 2014 in Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, one of the oldest continuously operating pie shops in London, seating only 35 people at each performance. In 2015, the production made the leap to the West End where Tooting Arts Club recreated Harrington’s in a 69 seat Shaftesbury Avenue venue provided by producer Cameron Mackintosh. The Harrington’s shop environment has once again been brought to life for its US debut in the 130 seat Barrow Street Theatre.

Sweeney Todd is produced by Rachel Edwards, Jenny Gersten, Seaview Productions, Fiona Rudin, Barrow Street Theatre, Jean Doumanian, Rebecca Gold and Nate Koch (Executive Producer).

Based on a Victorian horror story, Sweeney Todd is often considered Sondheim’s greatest masterpiece. It first premiered on Broadway in 1979 at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) and went on to make its West End debut in 1980. The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. The 2007 Tim Burton film adaptation earned one Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards.

Former White House Executive Pastry Chef William “Bill” Yosses (dubbed “the Crust Master” by President Barack Obama) serves as the production’s official pie maker. In keeping with the original Tooting production and the West End transfer, “pie and mash” is available for purchase by audience members prior to every performance, served communally in the pie shop where the production is set. An authentic slice of Victorian London, the traditional “pie and mash” dish consists of a meat pie, a generous helping of mashed potato and hot parsley sauce – otherwise known as “liquor” – which is an optional extra. Both meat veg pie options are available.

TICKETING & SCHEDULE

Tickets can be purchased online at www.SweeneyToddNYC.com, at the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street at 7th Ave South (Box Office open 1pm daily), or by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111. Tickets for performances range in price from $55 to $150. Premium seating is available.

When purchasing tickets, patrons can select an option to add the pie and mash meal to their order for an additional $22.50 ($29 for beef wellington). The meal also includes a beer, glass of wine, or non-alcoholic beverage to be enjoyed in the pie-shop starting 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to each performance. Please note that this option can only be purchased in advance with tickets.

A limited number of $39 tickets will be made available to every performance of Sweeney Todd via the TodayTix app. The entry period for all performances will begin each performance day at 12:01am EST and continue until winners are notified via email and push notification 2-4 hours before the selected performance begins. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. A photo ID is required for pickup and lottery tickets and seat locations are subject to availability.

Performance Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday @ 7:30pm; Friday @ 8:00pm; Saturday @ 2:30pm & 8:00pm; Sunday @2:00pm & 7:30pm

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim 

SWEENEY TODD at Barrow Street Becomes Longest Running Production of SWEENEY

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The Tooting Arts Club production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street made history on June 20, 2018 as it became the longest running production of Sweeney Todd on record. The performance marked 558, surpassing the 1979 Original Broadway Production directed by Hal Prince.

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The production will play its final performance on August 26, 2018 after a successful run at New York’s Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street). This production was named “Best of the Year!” by Time, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, Variety, Forbes, BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast. It’s the winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival, the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical Revival and the Best Off-Broadway Musical, Theater Fans’ Choice Award.

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim 

Sweeney Todd currently stars Thom Sesma (as Sweeney Todd), Sally Ann Triplett (as Mrs. Lovett), Stacie Bono (as Pirelli & Beggar Woman). Michael James Leslie (as Judge Turpin), Zachary Noah Piser (as Tobias), John Rapson (as The Beadle), Billy Harrigan Tighe (as Anthony) and DeLaney Westfall (as Johanna). The cast also includes Daniel Berryman, Laura Darrell, Matt Leisy, Liz Pearce, Monet Sabel, Drew Seigla and Haley Swindal.

The company of SWEENEY TODD. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
The company of SWEENEY TODD. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Sweeney Todd, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler from an adaptation by Christopher Bond, and directed by Bill Buckhurst, is now playing at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.SweeneyToddNYC.com.

Zachary Noah Piser as Tobias. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Zachary Noah Piser as Tobias. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Sweeney Todd features set and costume designs by Simon Kenny, music supervision and arrangements by Benjamin Cox, music direction by Matt Aument, choreography by Georgina Lamb, lighting design by Amy Mae, sound design by Matt Stine, casting by Telsey + Company / Cesar A. Rocha, CSA and production stage management by Joanna Muhlfelder.

DeLaney Westfall as Johanna and Billy Harrigan Tighe as Anthony. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
DeLaney Westfall as Johanna and Billy Harrigan Tighe as Anthony. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Immersing audiences in a completely new theatrical experience, this production of the classic tale of blood thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London. Tooting Arts Club first mounted this Sweeney Todd in the winter of 2014 in Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, one of the oldest continuously operating pie shops in London, seating only 35 people at each performance. In 2015, the production made the leap to the West End where Tooting Arts Club recreated Harrington’s in a 69 seat Shaftesbury Avenue venue provided by producer Cameron Mackintosh. The Harrington’s shop environment has once again been brought to life for its US debut in the 130 seat Barrow Street Theatre.

Sweeney Todd began performances on February 14, 2017 prior to a March 1, 2017 opening.

Sweeney Todd is produced by Rachel Edwards, Jenny Gersten, Seaview Productions, Fiona Rudin, Barrow Street Theatre, Jean Doumanian, Rebecca Gold and Nate Koch (Executive Producer).

Based on a Victorian horror story, Sweeney Todd is often considered Sondheim’s greatest masterpiece. It first premiered on Broadway in 1979 at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) and went on to make its West End debut in 1980. The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. The 2007 Tim Burton film adaptation earned one Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards.

Former White House Executive Pastry Chef William “Bill” Yosses (dubbed “the Crust Master” by President Barack Obama) serves as the production’s official pie maker. In keeping with the original Tooting production and the West End transfer, “pie and mash” is available for purchase by audience members prior to every performance, served communally in the pie shop where the production is set. An authentic slice of Victorian London, the traditional “pie and mash” dish consists of a meat pie, a generous helping of mashed potato and hot parsley sauce – otherwise known as “liquor” – which is an optional extra. Both meat veg pie options are available.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.SweeneyToddNYC.com, at the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street at 7th Ave South (Box Office open 1pm daily), or by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111. Tickets for performances range in price from $55 to $150. Premium seating is available.

When purchasing tickets, patrons can select an option to add the pie and mash meal to their order for an additional $22.50 ($29 for beef wellington). The meal also includes a beer, glass of wine, or non-alcoholic beverage to be enjoyed in the pie-shop starting 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to each performance. Please note that this option can only be purchased in advance with tickets.

A limited number of $39 tickets will be made available to every performance of Sweeney Todd via the TodayTix app. The entry period for all performances will begin each performance day at 12:01am EST and continue until winners are notified via email and push notification 2-4 hours before the selected performance begins. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. A photo ID is required for pickup and lottery tickets and seat locations are subject to availability.

This production of the classic tale of blood thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett immerses audiences in a completely new theatrical experience. This Sweeney Todd comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London where the show debuted in the 35-seat Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, the oldest continuously operating pie shop in the city, before transferring (by special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh) to a 69- seat West End venue on Shaftesbury Avenue. The working pie-shop environment has been re-created in the 130-seat Barrow Street Theatre.

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SWEENEY TODD, Starring Thom Sesma and Sally Ann Triplett, Ends Successful Barrow Street Theatre Run on August 26

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The Tooting Arts Club production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street starring Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd, Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett, Stacie Bono as Pirelli & Beggar Woman, Michael James Leslie as Judge Turpin, Zachary Noah Piser as Tobias, John Rapson as The Beadle, Billy Harrigan Tighe as Anthony and DeLaney Westfall as Johanna, with Laura Darrell, Matt Leisy, Liz Pearce, Danny Rothman, Monet Sabel and Drew Seigla,  will play its final performance on August 26, 2018 after a successful run at New York’s Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street).

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim 

“From our modest beginnings in a six-week run at Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop in Tooting, South London, we could never have imagined the support and love we would go on to receive in New York,” said lead producer Rachel Edwards. “I am so proud of our director Bill Buckhurst, the entire creative team, a wonderful family of actors and a brave team of producers who made the show such a success, especially the incredible Barrow Street Theatre who gave this show a home in New York. Most importantly, I thank Stephen Sondheim for his unerring support and encouragement along the way.”

The last performance of Sweeney Todd will also mark the Barrow Street Theatre’s final production at Greenwich House. Barrow Street Theatre has resided at Greenwich House for 14 years, beginning with the seminal production of Tracy Letts’ Bug in 2004 and has presented a number of iconic productions including Our Town, Tribes, Every Brilliant Thing, and No Child…. Sweeney Todd is only the latest demonstration of Barrow Street Theatre’s distinct history of changing the shape of Off-Broadway Theatre.

Sweeney Todd, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler from an adaptation by Christopher Bond, and directed by Bill Buckhurst, is now playing at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.SweeneyToddNYC.com.

Sweeney Todd features set and costume designs by Simon Kenny, music supervision and arrangements by Benjamin Cox, music direction by Matt Aument, choreography by Georgina Lamb, lighting design by Amy Mae, sound design by Matt Stine, casting by Telsey + Company / Cesar A. Rocha, CSA and production stage management by Joshua Mark Gustafson.

Immersing audiences in a completely new theatrical experience, this production of the classic tale of blood thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London. Tooting Arts Club first mounted this Sweeney Todd in the winter of 2014 in Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, one of the oldest continuously operating pie shops in London, seating only 35 people at each performance. In 2015, the production made the leap to the West End where Tooting Arts Club recreated Harrington’s in a 69 seat Shaftesbury Avenue venue provided by producer Cameron Mackintosh. The Harrington’s shop environment has once again been brought to life for its US debut in the 130 seat Barrow Street Theatre.

Sweeney Todd began performances on February 14, 2017 prior to a March 1, 2017 opening.

Sweeney Todd is produced by Rachel Edwards, Jenny Gersten, Seaview Productions, Fiona Rudin, Barrow Street Theatre, Jean Doumanian, Rebecca Gold and Nate Koch (Executive Producer).

Based on a Victorian horror story, Sweeney Todd is often considered Sondheim’s greatest masterpiece. It first premiered on Broadway in 1979 at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) and went on to make its West End debut in 1980. The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. The 2007 Tim Burton film adaptation earned one Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards.

Former White House Executive Pastry Chef William “Bill” Yosses (dubbed “the Crust Master” by President Barack Obama) serves as the production’s official pie maker. In keeping with the original Tooting production and the West End transfer, “pie and mash” is available for purchase by audience members prior to every performance, served communally in the pie shop where the production is set. An authentic slice of Victorian London, the traditional “pie and mash” dish consists of a meat pie, a generous helping of mashed potato and hot parsley sauce – otherwise known as “liquor” – which is an optional extra. Both meat veg pie options are available.

TICKETING & SCHEDULE

Tickets can be purchased online at www.SweeneyToddNYC.com, at the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street at 7th Ave South (Box Office open 1pm daily), or by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111. Tickets for performances range in price from $55 to $150. Premium seating is available.

When purchasing tickets, patrons can select an option to add the pie and mash meal to their order for an additional $22.50 ($29 for beef wellington). The meal also includes a beer, glass of wine, or non-alcoholic beverage to be enjoyed in the pie-shop starting 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to each performance. Please note that this option can only be purchased in advance with tickets.

A limited number of $39 tickets will be made available to every performance of Sweeney Todd via the TodayTix app. The entry period for all performances will begin each performance day at 12:01am EST and continue until winners are notified via email and push notification 2-4 hours before the selected performance begins. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. A photo ID is required for pickup and lottery tickets and seat locations are subject to availability.

Performance Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday @ 7:30pm; Friday @ 8:00pm; Saturday @ 2:30pm & 8:00pm; Sunday @2:00pm & 7:30pm

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Chatting with Steven Eng – 2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for “Pacific Overtures”

Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Congratulations to Steven Eng on his first Lortel nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for his role as Kayama Yesaemon in the Classic Stage Company’s revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Pacific Overtures, directed and designed by Tony Award winner John Doyle.

Orville Mendoza and Steven Eng, center, and the cast of "Pacific Overtures" by John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, at Classic Stage Company. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
Orville Mendoza and Steven Eng, center, and the cast of “Pacific Overtures” by John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, at Classic Stage Company. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

The production has garnered other nods including a Lortel nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for Thom Sesma, Outer Critics Circle and The Drama League  Outstanding Revival nods and Drama Desk Award nominations in the categories of Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Orchestrations for Jonathan Tunick and Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical for Dan Moses Schreier.

2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim

CSC’s “Pacific Overtures” Nominated for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and Lortel Awards 

PACIFIC OVERTURES - Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang
PACIFIC OVERTURES – Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang

Mr. Eng is an actor, singer, director, teacher, producer, and co-founder of the National Asian Artists Project (NAAP), a community of artists, educators, administrators, community leaders and professionals who recognize the need to bridge the work of artists of Asian descent to the many communities the work can serve, from underserved primary school students to seasoned arts patrons. He co-founded the organization with Baayork Lee and Nina Zoie Lam to address what they felt was a significant lack of opportunity for professional Asian-American theater artists to practice their craft and contribute on a broader level to the diversity of the American theater. NAAP seeks to showcase the work of professional theater artists of Asian descent through performance, education and outreach. For more information about NAAP, visit www.NAAProject.org.

Nina Zoie Lam, Baayork Lee and Steven Eng, the founders of NAAP onstage before the performance of Oliver!, at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre 
inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Nina Zoie Lam, Baayork Lee and Steven Eng, the founders of NAAP onstage before the performance of Oliver!, at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre 
inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

I caught up with Steven at the 50th Birthday Bash for Classic Stage Company honoring John Doyle and Lynn Angelson.

Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: How did you learn about the nomination and what was your reaction?
Steven: I must have been looking at Playbill.com right when the announcement happened, because I hadn’t heard anything. I saw that the nominations were announced, so I read it to see if there were friends who had been nominated. That’s when I saw my name. It was crazy and surreal to read it and not have heard anything. Sure enough, within a couple of hours, I was notified and receiving congratulations from friends and colleagues.

(L–R) Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley (background), and Ann Harada in a scene from the Classic Stage Company’s production of “Pacific Overtures.” (Joan Marcus)
(L–R) Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley (background), and Ann Harada in a scene from the Classic Stage Company’s production of “Pacific Overtures.” (Joan Marcus)

Lia: What is Kayama’s journey?
Steven: Kayama is a minor samurai who is quickly promoted through the ranks of the Japanese ruling class when American warships appear demanding Japan open its doors to international trade. Through unexpected circumstances and luck (bad or good is up to the audience), he evolves from a traditional Japanese samurai into a westernized bureaucrat.

George Takei, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, Steven Eng, Marc Oka, Thom Sesma, Austin Ku, Megan Masako Haley Holmes, Kimberly Immanuel, Orville Mendoza and Marc de la Cruz at the sitzprobe at Carroll Music in New York on March 31, 2017. Photo: Karl Josef Co/Facebook
George Takei, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, Steven Eng, Marc Oka, Thom Sesma, Austin Ku, Megan Masako Haley Holmes, Kimberly Immanuel, Orville Mendoza and Marc de la Cruz at the sitzprobe at Carroll Music in New York on March 31, 2017. Photo: Karl Josef Co/Facebook

Lia: What did it mean to you to work with this cast and creative team?
Steven: Pacific Overtures was a project of a lifetime for me because of both the piece and the people involved. Firstly, Sondheim’s work has always been among the most influential to me in my career, inspiring and driving me to seek work that challenges and teaches me about humanity, and Pacific Overtures has been my favorite of all his works. So to have him watch the show several times and have his input is beyond what I could ever have imagined. Having John Weidman at rehearsals changing his smart and fascinating book was also an unbelievable privilege, and all of us guided by the brilliant director John Doyle was thrilling. And my cast, what can I say except that they were among the most generous and talented actors with whom I’ve ever shared a stage, and I felt the responsibility of bringing the very best I could to match the high level of their work.

Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, John Doyle and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, John Doyle and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: This is a very diverse season for theater and the nominated shows. Have you seen a difference for you in casting over the years in the industry?
Steven: I can’t really say I’ve noticed a substantial difference in casting for me personally. I will say, though, that seasons of diversity are becoming more frequent, and this is certainly one of them. I’m not ready, just yet, to say that diversity is a regular occurrence. The unfortunate but truthful question is, diverse for whom? Even with diverse seasons and casts, there are still underrepresented groups.

Billy Bustamante, Jason Ma, Baayork Lee, Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, Alan Muraoka, Steven Eng and Cara Reichel. Photo by Lia Chang
Billy Bustamante, Jason Ma, Baayork Lee, Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, Alan Muraoka, Steven Eng and Cara Reichel onstage after the GOLD MOUNTAIN Concert on October 21, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Last October, NAAP and Prospect Theater Company produced a staged concert of Gold Mountain, a new musical written by Jason Ma, that you were featured in. You were delightful. It was such a celebration of the Asian American actor on stage. What was your experience? 
Steven: Thank you for that generous compliment! I think Jason Ma is so remarkably talented and it’s just a matter of time until someone with the influence and resources will invest in him and his work. Gold Mountain was such a gift, and to play that role was great fun as well as scary. It was so important to me to do justice to this character and the traditions he represented.

Lawrence Michael C. Arias, Eric Bondoc and Steven Eng in GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang
Lawrence Michael C. Arias, Eric Bondoc and Steven Eng in GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What did it feel like to be in the room of Lortel nominees recently, more specifically with all of your fellow Asian American colleagues?
Steven: It was quite special to be there, and among all those fine theater artists. And to see the wonderful Asian faces of not just colleagues, but friends who were also being recognized was so rewarding. While we all have our own paths that lead us there, we do share a common understanding of some similar challenges.

Lia: Where do you teach?
Steven: I teach at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in undergraduate drama in two specific studios: the New Studio on Broadway and the Atlantic Theater Company. I also teach at HB Studios. I teach voice and speech, which means spoken voice (not singing), text, articulation and accents/dialects.

Baayork Lee and Steven Eng.
Baayork Lee and Steven Eng.

Lia: What’s next for you?
Steven: I’m working on a couple of directing projects now that will occupy me for the summer and early fall. One is a brand new musical that’s being written by Jonathan and Kimbirdlee Fadner, based on the old Chinese legend of the Monkey King. I think it’s a great piece that takes a centuries-old story and gives it some fun modern twists, with great music and fun storytelling. And of course I’m finishing my classes as well as auditioning for my next acting gig. That never ends.

I’d also like to mention that National Asian Artists Project (NAAP) is still going strong. While I’m not ready to divulge specific upcoming projects, there are things in the works as we continue to try create opportunities for actors of Asian-descent to practice their craft. In just a year, we’ll be celebrating a decade of operation, and I’m still excited about all the things that are in store.

The company of GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang
The company of GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang
Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Steven Eng has been acting professionally as a member of Actors Equity since 1995. His work onstage has included New York City and all across the United States in some of the country’s most respected theaters. He was most recently seen Off-Broadway at Classic Stage Company in the NYC revival of Pacific Overtures, directed by John Doyle with reworking by original creators John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, with new orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick. He’s also performed on London’s West End and in Germany and Cambodia. He has played leading roles from Shakespeare to Sondheim and continually enjoys the challenge of creating roles in new works, most recently Maltby & Shire’s Waterfall. Career highlights have included productions of Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2, Richard II, As You Like It, King John, Miss Saigon, Paint Your Wagon, Honor, and numerous developing works. He’s done some film (released as well as to-be-released), TV (cop shows, soap operas, kid shows), commercials (beer, anyone?), voiceovers, industrials, and is always grateful to be challenged in new mediums. Steven is also a tenor, having sung in both large concert halls as well as intimate cabaret venues. He holds an MFA in Classical Acting from the George Washington University’s Academy for Classical Acting (Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC). He also holds a BFA in Theatre Studies from Southern Methodist University with a minor in music (vocal performance).

2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nominations Announced including KPOP, “Bella: An American Tall Tale,” “Mary Jane,” “The Lucky Ones,” “Pipeline,” “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” and “Pacific Overtures” 
KPOP’s James Seol, Ashley Park, Jason Tam, Vanessa Kai Among 9 2018 Lucille Lortel Nods, including Outstanding Musical

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2018 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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CSC’s “Pacific Overtures” Nominated for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and Lortel Awards

Some of the Drama League nominated cast of Classic Stage Company's PACIFIC OVERTURES - Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimmy Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang

Classic Stage Company’s revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Pacific Overtures, directed and designed by Tony Award winner John Doyle, has received 2018 Drama Desk Award nominations in the categories of Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Orchestrations for Jonathan Tunick and Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical for Dan Moses Schreier.

Kelvin Moon Loh, Austin Ku, George Takei, Marc Oka, and Thom Sesma in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus
Kelvin Moon Loh, Austin Ku, George Takei, Marc Oka, and Thom Sesma in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus

The cast of Pacific Overtures features Karl Josef Co, Marc dela Cruz, Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley, Ann Harada, Kimberly Immanuel, Austin Ku, Kelvin Moon Loh, Orville Mendoza, Marc Oka, Thom Sesma, and George Takei.

PACIFIC OVERTURES - Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang
PACIFIC OVERTURES – Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang

2018 Lucille Lortel nods include Outstanding Lead Actor for Steven Eng and Outstanding Featured Actor for Thom Sesma.

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim

2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

The production has also been nominated for Outstanding Revival by the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama League.

Orville Mendoza and Steven Eng, center, and the cast of "Pacific Overtures" by John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, at Classic Stage Company. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
Orville Mendoza and Steven Eng, center, and the cast of “Pacific Overtures” by John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, at Classic Stage Company. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

In the ground-breaking Pacific Overtures, Commodore Matthew Perry sails to Japan in 1853 on a U.S mission to open up trade relations at any cost. The musical tells the tale of a samurai and a fisherman who are caught up in the Westernization of the East. With Pacific Overtures, which first premiered on Broadway in 1976 (directed by Hal Prince), John Doyle continues his highly-acclaimed and award-winning exploration of Sondheim’s work, having directed the legendary composer’s Sweeney Todd and Company on Broadway, and Passion at CSC.

Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley, and Ann Harada in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus
Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley, and Ann Harada in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus
Austin Ku, Kimberly Immanuel, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, George Takei, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza, Steven Eng and Kelvin Moon Loh. Photo by Lia Chang
Austin Ku, Kimberly Immanuel, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, George Takei, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza, Steven Eng and Kelvin Moon Loh. Photo by Lia Chang
CSC's PACIFIC OVERTURES family photo with Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. Photo courtesy of Facebook
CSC’s PACIFIC OVERTURES family photo with Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. Photo courtesy of Facebook

The production received a 2017 Off Broadway Alliance Award nomination for Best Revival.

Arrivals: John Doyle and Lynn Angelson Feted at Classic Stage Company’s 50th Birthday Celebration

Outer Critics Circle Award Nominees Announced; “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Pacific Overtures,” “Mlima’s Tale,” “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train,” and “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” Among Nominated

2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nominations Announced including KPOP, “Bella: An American Tall Tale,” “Mary Jane,” “The Lucky Ones,” “Pipeline,” “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” and “Pacific Overtures” 

SKELETON CREW, PACIFIC OVERTURES, TURN ME LOOSE and More Among 2017 Off Broadway Alliance Award Nominees

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

John Doyle and Lynn Angelson Feted at Classic Stage Company’s 50th Birthday Celebration

Lynn Angelson and John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang
John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang
John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang

Last night, Classic Stage Company marked its 50th birthday with a gala celebration at Bohemian National Hall on the Upper East Side, recognizing Artistic Director John Doyle and Board Chair Lynn Angelson. The evening featured special guest performances from Doyle’s New York career including Cynthia Erivo, Judy Kuhn, and Donna McKechnie.

Lynn Angelson and John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang
Lynn Angelson and John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang

A handpicked company of artists who have worked with John Doyle on past productions, the Doylies, including 2018 Lortel nominees Thom Sesma and Steven Eng (Pacific Overtures), Quincy Tyler Bernstine (As You Like It), along with George Abud, Keith Buterbaugh, Karl Josef Co, Matthew Deming, Ben Diskant, David Michael Garry, Megan Masako Haley, Lee Harrington, Amy Justman, Emily Mechler, Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, Megan Loomis, Jane Pfitsch, Leenya Rideout, Fred Rose, Bruce Sabath, Antoine L. Smith, Rema Webb, Elisa Winter, Jessica Tyler Wright, and Katrina Yaukey, also performed.

2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Cynthia Erivo and Patti LuPone served as honorary co-chairs; with Barbara H. Marks as the event chair. The evening also featured a live auction hosted by actor Will Roland.

Fred Rose, Orville Mendoza, George Abud, Katrina Yaukey, Jane Pfitsch, Thom Sesma, Karl Josef Co, Emily Mechler, Bruce Sabath. 2nd row: Lee Harrington, Leenya Rideout, Phoenix Best, Benjamin Diskant, Rema Webb, Keith Buterbaugh, Amy Justman, Megan Loomis, Matthew Deming, Megan Masako Haley, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessica Tyler Wright, David Michael Garry, Elisa Winter. Photo by Lia Chang
1st row: Fred Rose, Orville Mendoza, George Abud, Katrina Yaukey, Jane Pfitsch, Thom Sesma, Karl Josef Co, Emily Mechler, Bruce Sabath. 2nd row: Lee Harrington, Leenya Rideout, Phoenix Best, Benjamin Diskant, Rema Webb, Keith Buterbaugh, Amy Justman, Megan Loomis, Matthew Deming, Megan Masako Haley, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessica Tyler Wright, David Michael Garry, Elisa Winter. Photo by Lia Chang
Some of the Drama League nominated cast of Classic Stage Company's PACIFIC OVERTURES - Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang
Some of the Drama League nominated cast of Classic Stage Company’s PACIFIC OVERTURES – Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang
Genevieve Angelson and Lynn Angelson. Photo by Lia Chang
Genevieve Angelson and Lynn Angelson. Photo by Lia Chang
Amy Justman, John Doyle, Barbara Walsh and Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Amy Justman, John Doyle, Barbara Walsh and Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, John Doyle and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, John Doyle and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
George Abud and Quincy Tyler Bernstine. Photo by Lia Chang
George Abud and Quincy Tyler Bernstine. Photo by Lia Chang
David Michael Garry, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza. Photo by Lia Chang
Three Sweeneys – David Michael Garry, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza. Photo by Lia Chang
Akron Watson, Rema Webb and Phoenix Best. Photo by Lia Chang
Akron Watson, Rema Webb and Phoenix Best. Photo by Lia Chang

Since 1967, Classic Stage Company, CSC, has been committed to re-imagining classic stories for contemporary audiences. the company has been a home for New York’s finest established and emerging artists to grapple with the great works of the world’s repertory that speak directly to the issues of today. CSC serves an average of 35,000 audience members annually, including more than 4,000 students through its nationally recognized education programs. Productions have been cited repeatedly by all the major Off-Broadway theater awards including the Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work.

Kimberly Immanuel and Megan Masako Haley. Photo by Lia Chang
Kimberly Immanuel and Megan Masako Haley. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek.  She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com

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Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts

Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang

Broadway vet Thom Sesma has been nominated for his first Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for his work in Classic Stage Company’s revival of Pacific Overtures. 

Thom Sesma, Megan Masako Haley, George Takei, and Marc Oka. Photo by  Joan Marcus
Thom Sesma, Megan Masako Haley, George Takei, and Marc Oka. Photo by  Joan Marcus

Over the past year, Sesma has commuted to the Village from his Upper West Side home for three gigs. Last Spring, he appeared in Pacific Overtures at Classic Stage Company. In the Fall, he played Leo Tolstoy in Primary Stages’ New York premiere of The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord by Scott Carter at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

Thom Sesma, Michael Laurence, and Duane Boutté star in Scott Carter's The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord, directed by Kimberly Senior, for Primary Stages at the Cherry Lane Theatre. (© Jeremy Daniel)
Thom Sesma, Michael Laurence, and Duane Boutté star in Scott Carter’s The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord, directed by Kimberly Senior, for Primary Stages at the Cherry Lane Theatre.
(© Jeremy Daniel)

In February, Sesma joined the cast of Tooting Arts Club’s terrific immersive production of Sweeney Todd at the Barrow Street Theatre, to star as Sweeney Todd opposite Sally Ann Triplett’s Mrs. Lovett. The production celebrated its one year anniversary last month, continuing its streak as the longest running musical to play New York’s Barrow Street Theatre, and has been extended through August 26, 2018.

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

I sat down with Thom in Father Demo Square, a few days after he was nominated to talk about the diversity of this year’s nominees, Asian American Representation on Stage and on Screen, and all things Sondheim.

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

Lia: Congratulations on your Lortel Nomination in a season of many Asian American nominees and probably the most diverse class of nominees. What do you think this says about Asian American Representation on the New York Stage?
Thom: We are here. We’re not going anywhere. We’re here to stay. Get used to it. I feel such a great mixture of pride and humility, being in the same landscape of great actors, writers, designers, directors, visionaries, really, many of whom I’m just so lucky to call my friends. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, maybe I can be lulled into a sense of security that things are changing, that there’s a shift in consciousness in the institution. It’s a credit to the Off-Broadway Producer and Theatre’s League to have recognized this. They’ve always been more ahead of the game than their counterparts on Broadway, but this year feels… special…It’s exciting and extraordinary and should be celebrated as such.

2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nominations Announced including KPOP, “Bella: An American Tall Tale,” “Mary Jane,” “The Lucky Ones,” “Pipeline,” “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” and “Pacific Overtures” 

KPOP’s James Seol, Ashley Park, Jason Tam, Vanessa Kai Among 9 2018 Lucille Lortel Nods, including Outstanding Musical

2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: How did you find out about the nomination?
Thom: I was coming home from noon mass at Notre Dame Parish in Morningside Heights and my wife, Penny, sent a text saying “You’re nominated for Pacific Overtures!” I thought she meant the show was nominated for best revival, because I never thought I’d be singled out, because I was just one part of this amazing ensemble. The way we worked together, as a company, really as a family, we were all sort of inseparable from each other, it was a very singular thing. In my mind, this nomination has everyone’s name all over it. I couldn’t have done a single thing onstage without the contributions of everyone else – and I’m not sure I would have wanted to.

Lia: Was this your first time working with John Doyle?
Thom: Oh yeah. And he’s ruined me – the standards of everyone I’ve worked with since then or will work with again are held up against John. And luckily, everyone I’ve worked with since is pretty much right up there. I hope it’s not the last time we work together. John really changed my personal aesthetic in a lot of ways, the approach you take to working, to allowing yourself to immerse yourself in not knowing what the next beat is about, being present, discovering that singular moment, embracing the value of failing at rehearsal every day. We give lip service to things like that all the time, but I don’t think I ever really experienced it in day-to-day practice.

George Takei, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, Steven Eng, Marc Oka, Thom Sesma, Austin Ku, Megan Masako Haley Holmes, Kimberly Immanuel, Orville Mendoza and Marc de la Cruz at the sitzprobe at Carroll Music in New York on March 31, 2017. Photo: Karl Josef Co/Facebook
George Takei, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, Steven Eng, Marc Oka, Thom Sesma, Austin Ku, Megan Masako Haley Holmes, Kimberly Immanuel, Orville Mendoza and Marc de la Cruz at the sitzprobe at Carroll Music in New York on March 31, 2017. Photo: Karl Josef Co/Facebook

Lia: Had you done Pacific Overtures before?
Thom: Yes, way back in the 90s. I did a regional stock production, really a re-creation of the original production at what was then San Jose Civic Light Opera. It was a beautiful show, all made of plywood and canvas flats, but it was gorgeous. Mako recreated his role as the Reciter in it, Diana Schuster directed it. I played Manjiro, the sailor – in my younger days. I was very proud to be a part of it, but honestly I’d forgotten it. When I auditioned for the production at CSC, John asked if I’d ever done the show before and I said in complete honesty, “no,” became I’d quite forgotten it. It was only when I was walking out of the room that I remembered and turned around to correct myself. Embarrassing. The brain… it goes.

And here you are a year later, you’re doing another Sondheim classic, Sweeney Todd at the Barrow Street Theatre. Are you becoming an expert interpreter of the master’s work?

Let’s just say, I’m really lucky.

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Lia: He’s one of your favorites?
Thom: I think he’s one of everyone’s favorites, without question. The closest we have to Shakespeare, maybe, at least in the musical theatre? He’s the Apex. You know, the original production of Pacific Overtures changed my life. I saw it at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion when it was on tour, when was it, 1977? 1978? I was finishing up college, getting ready to head to graduate school, studying modern European history, no intentions of becoming an actor. Then this show began and I was floored, from the get-go. I saw a universe I’d never seen before, a landscape filled with people who looked like me, and a story – well, in many respects a story I was familiar with, at least the telling of it: a story of Asian history told through a distinctly American lens, yet couched in the appearance, the physical images of an Asian culture. Yeah, it was in a way, my story. It was so audacious and courageous in its telling, and it never let me go. It still hasn’t. Anyway, from the moment I left the theatre and made the long drive home from downtown LA, I knew the graduate school would only be a detour from the journey that has brought me here. But I gotta say – I never in a million years dreamt that I’d end up doing the show here in New York.

Ann Harada, George Takei, Thom Sesma and Don Buchwald. Photo by Lia Chang
Ann Harada, George Takei, Thom Sesma and Don Buchwald. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Had you worked with George Takei before?
Thom: No. I loved working with George, and hope it’s not the last time. He’s so lovely, one of the kindest, most humble and generous people I’ve ever met. I love him to death.

Austin Ku, Kimberly Immanuel, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, George Takei, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza, Steven Eng and Kelvin Moon Loh. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What characters did you play in Pacific Overtures?
Thom: I played several characters, including a wannabe geisha, I guess. But my main role was Lord Abe, the de facto Shogun. He’s officious, cynical, not without a sense of humor – he knows the world is changing and has to dancing between holding up the appearance of tradition and easing those changes into the culture – all to maintain Japan’s idea of itself, adapting without changing, as it were. Abe does a very delicate dance between the past and the future. Whether he does so successfully is the great question mark at the end of Pacific Overtures.

Kelvin Moon Loh, Austin Ku, George Takei, Marc Oka, and Thom Sesma in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus
Kelvin Moon Loh, Austin Ku, George Takei, Marc Oka, and Thom Sesma in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus

Lia: Can you talk a little about the differences between doing Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd?
Thom: Well, the one thing that makes them similar, at least in these productions, is the reduced scale of both from their original iterations. The original PO was huge, epic, it attempted to tell two stories, an intimate, personal tale of a doomed friendship against the backdrop of a clash between two very real civilization, and to tell it in an epic theatrical style – kabuki. The original production Sweeney Todd was also pretty gigantic in scope, and was as much a metaphor about society as it was a deeply personal story of one man’s personal loss and his quest for revenge, right? And in both productions, we now have brilliant visionary directors who’ve ripped away the size and the texture of the originals to dig deeper into the personal narratives. I guess you could describe both as immersive. Sweeney Todd is much more site-specific, I mean the tale unfolds in a pie shop, for God’s sake, and it’s immersive in the sense that the audience is plunged into the activity of the play itself, sometimes as witnesses to Sweeney’s and Mrs. Lovett’s deeds, sometimes as victims! Is that a spoiler?

Orville Mendoza and Steven Eng, center, and the cast of "Pacific Overtures" by John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus
Orville Mendoza and Steven Eng, center, and the cast of “Pacific Overtures” by John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus

Anyway, our production of Pacific Overtures was immersive insofar as part of John’s concept was inviting the audience in less as an audience then as witnesses to how the changing world affected the two central characters Manjiro and Kayama, how it created and ultimately destroyed their friendship – which is really the only thing we wanted to care about in the story the play tells. This was done by John’s very intimate design concept which put the audience on both sides of the stage – we were really playing in an alley between the audiences who were watching not only us, but each other. That’s something that’s shared in the pie shop. The configuration of the seating actually makes the audience participants in the production as much as the action does. People in row B will be watching people in Row E, not realizing that they’re being watched by people in row G, etcetera, etcetera. And their reactions to our actions become part of the action itself. It’s very, very cool, and given the intimacy of the room, we actors are able to watch this happening, which has an affect on how we play out our parts.

Lia: What were your favorite moments in Pacific Overtures? And What are your favorite moments in Sweeney Todd?
Thom: Oh, wow – If it hadn’t been for the pressure of having Stephen Sondheim watch me singing what he’s described as the favorite of all the songs he’s written, I’d say singing the Old Man in Someone In A Tree was the definite high point. Of course, I’m partly kidding. Singing that trio with Austin Ku and Kelvin Moon Loh in this production, for himself or not is definitely something I will never, ever, ever forget. What a privilege, what a blessing. For an actor who sings – it’s the perfect song, about character, about remembering, about forgetting, about what truly matters in the great tides of our lives. You can’t help but make new discoveries about the song, about the show and about yourself every time you do it.

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

And again, in Sweeney, the pressure of singing for the man himself is undeniable, but when he came to see the new cast, we’d only been performing for a week and change, and we were still finding our feet as it were, which kind of took the pressure off. Believe me, it’s much easier on the ego to be thinking about, “let’s see, do I hold the razor in my left hand and the towel in my right, or is it the other way,” than to think, oh shoot, I feel him watching me he’s shaking his head he hates me. That aside, though, I have so many favorite moments in what is probably one of the only perfectly constructed musical ever written. It changes and I can’t single one out. My Friends is extraordinary, terribly satisfying to get to sing. It keeps me engaged, too because it demands an emotional truthfulness in expression that it keeps me from losing myself in the joy of singing something so beautiful.

Other than that, all of my favorite moments have nothing to do with me – it’s all things that Sally Ann Triplett is doing as Mrs. Lovett. She’s an actor’s dream, a brilliant comedienne and brilliant tragedian, and an absolute love of a person. God broke the mold after he made her. I swear there are some moments during the show when I wish I could just check out and watch Mrs. Lovett at work. She constantly teaches me so many things. Who’s lucky? I’m lucky, that’s who.

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

Lia: You have been in the performing arts for many years and have had the opportunity to be cast non-traditionally in lead roles. How has this changed over the course of your career?
Thom: It’s changed a lot with my age – I actually think I’m working more now as an older character – I’m not going to say “mature” because that would imply that I know better now… But I also suppose it has something to do with a body of work that I’ve established. I’m always surprised that people have seen my work or have heard of me, or that I’m supposed to have this reputation as a guy who’s working all the time. Most of the time, whoever I’m working, there’s a little voice inside my tiny little brain telling me I’m never going to work again. But more to the point – when I was younger, there were fewer casting directors, or directors who were actively, and by that I mean self-consciously, trying to cast non-traditionally. But those few who were, did so with a passion, like it was a mission to create an onstage landscape that looked like America. A lot of time it was just in stock or in the regions, but certainly not as much was being done here in New York. People like Jack O’Brien at the Old Globe in San Diego, Steve Woolf at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Ed Stern at Cincinnati Playhouse, Wayne Bryan at Music Theatre of Wichita and others. And I was fortunate enough to work in those places, with those people, and others of like mind. There was an effort here in New York, in commercial theatre, but it was a little limited – there would be, like, one African American woman in say 42nd Street, or one Asian American (that would be me) in the original production of La Cage Aux Folles. But never much more than that, unless a show was actively and purposefully depicting characters of many backgrounds – A Chorus Line, a perfect example. But there was no regular place for, say, a Condola Rashad to play Saint Joan, or Phillipa Soo to play Rebecca in The Parisian Woman. I don’t know what or how things changed – maybe it was Audra that opened traditional people’s eyes that actors of color could be not only qualified but unsurpassable. Or maybe it was something like the literal hundreds and hundreds of incredibly talented people coming out of Miss Saigon – numbers can create results. Slowly, sure, sometimes painfully, but it works. For myself though, to reduce it to basics, it might’ve been classical theatre that opened a lot of doors for me, maybe? I don’t know if it’s still the case, but classical theatre at the time I was young, had a serious cache to it – somehow you were more of an “actor”, or more on an “ah-ctor” if you could pull of a difficult, lesser well-known Shakespearean monologue. And I do know there were a number of casting people in the 80s who wouldn’t take you at all seriously if you didn’t have any classical training – go figure. But I had a couple of lovely credits – which I guess you could call “non-traditional” early on which led to other plays, contemporary pieces, and musicals, and all of a sudden I was being seen for more than Asian or Asian-American roles. I have to say, this is not something I set out to do, it’s just something that happened, with the support of my agents, who were far-sighted and probably had more confidence in my non-traditional potential that perhaps I had. I guess that’s one of the requirements, too, it’s having people on your side who are going to do more than just sympathize, people who are actually going to go out on a limb for you. Anyway, I was certainly pleased, I’m pretty sure I was awfully full of myself, too, but for the most part, this was something I wasn’t in control of. And I was still playing – or just being seen for – the most offensive stereotypes imaginable. Some of these were well-meaning, I guess: I did a deservedly short-lived musical on Broadway called Chu-Chem, also billed as the first Chinese-Jewish musical, which was slightly less authentic than a can of Chun-King Chow Mein, and even less appealing. The opening number was titled “Orient Yourself,” and the show was so indifferently directed, designed and produced that I’m guessing audiences were slightly offended before the overture even began. We played at the Walter Kerr Theatre, then called The Ritz, for something like six weeks, played to tiny, tiny houses, and twenty minutes into the show, we could see people seated in the orchestra climbing over each other to get out.

Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. (1992). Production still, including Griffin Dunne, Keith Szarabajka, Thom Sesma Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-fb5e-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. (1992). Production still, including Griffin Dunne, Keith Szarabajka, Thom Sesma Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-fb5e-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

But then a couple years later I also got to play a guy named Martin Mirkheim – a universe away from Prince Whatever My Name Was in Chu Chem – in a profoundly beautiful and dark play called Search and Destroy by Howard Korder, also on Broadway, which also ran for only six weeks. But oh, what a satisfying six weeks!

Lia: Have you experienced many of the new younger Asian American voices -new works by new playwrights?
Thom: Yep – not as many as I’d like, but mostly I’ve been involved in developmental readings of plays and musicals but a new and younger generation of Asian American writers and composers, which is very exciting. But it’s not just young voices, I mean, kids coming out of conservatories. These voices have been around for awhile, and we’re just getting noticed. But we’re all over the place. We’re everywhere. And this year, a play by an Asian American playwright will for the first time open on Broadway (Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men). Isn’t that something?

(l-r) Peter Kim portrays Isaac Lee, Andrew Cristi is Jimmy Lee and Thom Sesma is Boo-Seng Lee in the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.
(l-r) Peter Kim portrays Isaac Lee, Andrew Cristi is Jimmy Lee and Thom Sesma is Boo-Seng Lee in Julia Cho’s Durango at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, September, 2008. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Lia: Have you noticed a change in casting of Asian Americans on TV or in film?
Thom: Oh my God, yes – network TV, we’re everywhere. It makes me so proud, so excited. Asian Americans, mostly younger, are playing, guess what, contemporary Asian Americans, but also are NOT playing hookers, dragon ladies, opium dealers, kung fu masters, math nerds. Okay, some of us are, stock stereotypes will always be there, right? But Sandra Oh, Daniel Day Kim, Daniel Isaacs, Constance Wu, Li Jun Li, BD, BD, BD freaking Wong – who can play anything, he’s so brilliant. Am I saying, “Is the playing field level?” No, by no means. But God, oh God, it feels like we can take a rest, even if it’s a short one, from fighting the same battles we fought for decades, just to be taken seriously as real, breathing, feeling, multi-dimensional people!

Lia: What roles or directors are on your wish list?
Thom: Well, all the ones who influenced me in my youth, most aren’t as active as they were in their heyday, – Hal Prince, Tommy Tune, Gregory Mosher, John Tillinger, is Michael Blakemore still directing? Or they’ve passed on – Mike Nichols, Peter Hall, or course, Michael Bennett. And I’m never going to complain, I’ve gotten to work – even briefly – with James Lapine, Michael Greif, Chris Ashley, Jerry Zaks, Bart Sher, blah blah blah… Now it sounds like I’m bragging. I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve been very, very lucky.

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Lia: How often do you strive to be part of projects where the cast really reflects what the world looks like?
Thom: Well, ideally, that’s something I strive for all the time. I’m just in a position to ensure that something like that is happening. The only thing in my power – in any journeyman actor’s power, I suppose, is the ability and the willingness to say “no” to something that offends my makes me question my sensibilities about how I may think the world is supposed to look.

The real question should be, how is my work supporting or encouraging how the traditional world can change or evolve so that it more easily can begin to reflect what the real world actually looks like. Am I doing everything I can to serve the play, the production and, I guess, the industry, so that I’m not just a qualified Hapa Asian American actor, but that I’m qualified enough to level the playing field. So, here I am, playing the title role in Sweeney Todd – part of what has to go through my process is not that I’m a Hapa Asian American playing Sweeney Todd but that I may be the only Sweeney Todd a person may ever see. That means I’d better up my game and be as complete a Sweeney as I can be. And being Hapa Asian American in appearance and consciousness is only a small part, a very small part  of that, and ultimately one I have no control over.

Michael James Leslie as Judge Turpin and Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michael James Leslie as Judge Turpin and Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Lia: What are the three projects over the course of your career that you would say are your favorites?
Thom: Wow. Honestly, I can’t say… I’m not trying to be glib or politic, but I’ve been blessed time and time again with extraordinary experiences, in production, or in workshops, sometimes just readings. I’ve never taken a, you know, a “survey” amongst friends or associates, but I hope everyone feels this way. To tell the truth, it would be easier for me to pick out a small number of things that were NOT my favorites than the ones that are. But – I gotta say, being able to do Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd, both in New York and both in a 12 month period — that’s a lot of icing on a really delicious cake.

The company of SWEENEY TODD. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
The company of SWEENEY TODD. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Lia: What do we have to look forward to from Thom Sesma?
Thom: I’m in Sweeney Todd until August. I hope you’ll come by and visit the pie shop of Fleet Street. I’m perfectly content upstairs by the barber chair.

The cast of Sweeney Todd also features Stacie Bono (as Pirelli & Beggar Woman), Michael James Leslie (as Judge Turpin), Zachary Noah Piser (as Tobias), John Rapson (as The Beadle), Billy Harrigan Tighe (as Anthony) and DeLaney Westfall (as Johanna), and Matt Leisy, Liz Pearce, Danny Rothman and Monet Sabel. Click here for tickets.

Thom Sesma is no stranger to the role of Sweeney Todd, having starred in productions at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park in 1997, and the Arden Theatre Company in 2005.

Sesma has starred on Broadway in The Times They Are A-Changin’, Man of La Mancha, La Cage Aux Folles, Search and Destroy. National Tours: The Lion King, Miss Saigon, Titanic. Other Off-Broadway credits include Awake and Sing! (NAATCO/Public Theatre), Othello (Public Theatre), Cymbeline (NYSF), A Hard Heart (Epic Theatre). Regional appearances include McCarter Theatre, Yale Rep, Arena Stage, Old Globe, Cincinnati Playhouse, Signature Theatre, Centre Stage, Music Theatre Wichita, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Pasadena Playhouse. TV includes “Madam Secretary,” “Gotham,” “Jessica Jones,” “The Good Wife,” “Person of Interest,” Over/Under, “Single Ladies” and more. Instagram @thsesma; Twitter @ThomSesmaNYC.

2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nominations Announced including KPOP, “Bella: An American Tall Tale,” “Mary Jane,” “The Lucky Ones,” “Pipeline,” “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” and “Pacific Overtures” 
Thom Sesma and Sally Ann Triplett Take Over the Pie Shop in SWEENEY TODD at Barrow Street Theatre Tonight 
Photos: BD Wong, Cindy Cheung, Brooke Ishibashi, Thom Sesma, Manna Nichols, Steven Eng, Ariel Estrada, Lori Tan Chinn at Leviathan Lab’s Ghost Stories 
Photos: Backstage Q & A with Thom Sesma and the cast of Signature’s Miss Saigon
A Summer in Bangkok for Thom Sesma, Star of Signature’s Miss Saigon 
Production Photos: Music Theatre of Wichita’s The King and I Starring Thom Sesma, Kim Huber, Alan Ariano, Karl Josef Co, Kay Trinidad, Tami Swartz at Century II Performing Arts Center through July 14, 2013 
Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin de Jesus and John Tartaglia set for MUNY’s Aladdin
Thom Sesma is the keynote speaker for the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) at the Mary Pickford Theater
Photos & Video Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas-In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma 
Spotlight on Shanghai Moon’s Thom Sesma
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (3pm) with Andre Bishop, Mary Beth Hurt, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Philip Kan Gotanda, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Richard Thomas, Jay O. Sanders, and more 
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (8pm) with Oskar Eustis, Patti LuPone, Lisa Emery, Ann Harada, Paolo Montalban, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Henry Stram, Richard Thomas, John Weidman and more 
Extended through 8/23- “In Rehearsal” Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Featuring Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, Thom Sesma as Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas
Backstage at The Lion King Las Vegas with Thom Sesma
Thom Sesma, Peter Kim and Andrew Cristi star in Durango
Thom Sesma Stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi
Thom Sesma in The Epic Theatre Ensemble’s A HARD HEART
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nominations Announced including KPOP, “Bella: An American Tall Tale,” “Mary Jane,” “The Lucky Ones,” “Pipeline,” “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play,” “Pacific Overtures,”  and “Jesus Hopped the A Train”

The cast of KPOP (© Ben Arons)

Laura Benanti and Jeremy Shamos will host the 33rd Annual Lucille Lortel Awards on Sunday, May 6, at the NYU Skirball Center.

The 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards, will posthumously elect composer Michael Friedman onto the Playwrights’ Sidewalk in front of the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Friedman was a Lucille Lortel Award winner for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Friedman died September 9, 2017, at the age of 41 following complications due to HIV/AIDS. His other works include This Beautiful City, Saved, The Fortress of Solitude, and Pretty Filthy.

The evening will also honor Tony-winning playwright and performer Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues) with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and longstanding Off-Broadway company WP Theater for their Outstanding Body of Work.

Ensler recently performed at Manhattan Theatre Club Off-Broadway in an adaptation of her memoir, In the Body of the World. The monologue play, written and performed by Ensler, details her experiences working with women in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and being diagnosed with uterine cancer.

MaameYaa Boafo and Zainab Jah. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
MaameYaa Boafo and Zainab Jah. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Outstanding Play
Cost of Living
Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club in association with Williamstown Theatre Festival
Written by Martyna Majok

Miles for Mary
Produced by Playwrights Horizons
Written by Marc Bovino, Joe Curnutte, Michael Dalto, Lila Neugebauer, and Stephanie Wright Thompson

Karen Pittman (foreground) and Namir Smallwood (background). Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel
Karen Pittman (foreground) and Namir Smallwood (background). Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

Pipeline
Produced by Lincoln Center Theater
Written by Dominique Morisseau

Dominique Morisseau’s PIPELINE at Lincoln Center Theater 

School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play
Produced by MCC Theater
Written by Jocelyn Bioh

MCC’s SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY by Jocelyn Bioh at The Lucille Lortel Theatre

Jocelyn Bioh’s “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play” Receives 2018 Drama Desk Ensemble Award and Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and Off Broadway Alliance Nominations 

The Treasurer
Produced by Playwrights Horizons
Written by Max Posner

The company of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE. Photo by Joan Marcus
The company of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE. Photo by Joan Marcus

Outstanding Musical
Bella: An American Tall Tale
Produced by Playwrights Horizons
Book, music, and lyrics by Kirsten Childs

Ashley D. Kelley, Paolo Montalban, Kenita R. Miller, Britton Smith, Yurel Echezarreta and More in BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE at Playwright’s Horizons 

Kirsten Childs’ BELLA Nominated for Drama League Award, Drama Desk Award, Chita Rivera Award and 6 Lortel Awards 

Desperate Measures
Produced by The York Theatre Company in association with Cecilia Lin and Hu Guo
Book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg, music by David Friedman

Hundred Days
Produced by New York Theatre Workshop
By the Bengsons and Sarah Gancher

Jerry Springer – The Opera
Produced by The New Group
Music and lyrics by Richard Thomas, book and additional lyrics by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas

The cast of KPOP (© Ben Arons)
The cast of KPOP (© Ben Arons)

KPOP
Produced by Ars Nova in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company and Woodshed Collective
Conceived by Woodshed Collective and Jason Kim, book by Jason Kim, music and lyrics by Helen Park and Max Vernon, immersive design by Woodshed Collective

KPOP’s James Seol, Ashley Park, Jason Tam, Vanessa Kai Among 9 2018 Lucille Lortel Nods, including Outstanding Musical 

KPOP by Jason Kim, Helen Park, Max Vernon, and Woodshed Collective and GUN & POWDER by Ross Baum and Angelica Chéri Receive 2018 Richard Rodgers Awards for Musical Theater

Photos: KPOP Performance Benefits Ma-Yi Theater Company

Outstanding Revival
Fucking A
Produced by Signature Theatre
Written by Suzan-Lori Parks

In The Blood
Produced by Signature Theatre
Written by Suzan-Lori Parks

Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train
Produced by Signature Theatre
Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis

The Government Inspector
Produced by Red Bull Theater
Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from Revizor by Nikolai Gogol

Torch Song
Produced by Second Stage Theater in association with Richie Jackson
Written by Harvey Fierstein

Sean Carvajal, Ricardo Chavira and Edi Gathegi. Photo: Joan Marcus
Sean Carvajal, Ricardo Chavira and Edi Gathegi. Photo: Joan Marcus

Outstanding Solo Show
Harry Clarke
Produced by Vineyard Theatre in association with Audible
Written by David Cale, performed by Billy Crudup

Who’s Holiday!
Produced by Whoville Theatrical, Scott and Jenny Beck, Jason Shaw, Ken Fakler, Drew Desky/Dane Levens, Darren Bagert
Written by Matthew Lombardo, performed by Lesli Margherita

Outstanding Director
Lileana Blain-Cruz, Pipeline
Michael Greif, The Low Road
Anne Kauffman, Mary Jane
Lila Neugebauer, Miles for Mary
Leigh Silverman, Harry Clarke

Outstanding Choreographer
Camille A. Brown, Bella: An American Tall Tale
Bill Castellino, Desperate Measures
Byron Easley, X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation
Sonya Tayeh, The Lucky Ones
Jennifer Weber, KPOP

Chukwudi Iwuji and Crystal A. Dickinson. © Joan Marcus
Chukwudi Iwuji and Crystal A. Dickinson. © Joan Marcus

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play
Sean Carvajal, Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train
Peter Friedman, The Treasurer
Chukwudi Iwuji, The Low Road
Namir Smallwood, Pipeline
Michael Urie, Torch Song

Sean Carvajal, Edi Gathegi, Ricardo Chavira, Stephanie DiMaggio, Erick Betancourt End Extended Run in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ JESUS HOPPED THE A TRAIN 

Quincy Tyler Bernstine. Photo by Lia Chang
Quincy Tyler Bernstine. Photo by Lia Chang

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play
Quincy Tyler Bernstine, The Amateurs
MaameYaa Boafo, School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play
Carrie Coon, Mary Jane
Cristin Milioti, After the Blast
Karen Pittman, Pipeline

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Marc Bovino, Miles for Mary
Edi Gathegi, Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train
Gregg Mozgala, Cost of Living
Paul Sparks, Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo: Homelife and The Zoo Story
John Tufts, Pride and Prejudice

Carrie Coon, Liza Colón-Zayas, Danaya Esperanza, Susan Pourfar, Brenda Wehle Set for Amy Herzog’s MARY JANE at New York Theatre Workshop

From left: Abena Mensah-Bonsu, Mirirai Sithole and Paige Gilbert in 'School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play' Photo: Joan Marcus
From left: Abena Mensah-Bonsu, Mirirai Sithole and Paige Gilbert in ‘School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play’ Photo: Joan Marcus

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Vanessa Aspillaga, Amy and the Orphans
Quincy Tyler Bernstine, As You Like It
Liza Colón-Zayas, Mary Jane
Mirirai Sithole, School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play
Katy Sullivan, Cost of Living

Chatting with VIETGONE Star James Seol 

Chatting with Steven Eng – 2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for “Pacific Overtures”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical
Abigail Bengson, Hundred Days
Ashley D. Kelley, Bella: An American Tall Tale
Julia Knitel, A Letter to Harvey Milk
Lauren Molina, Desperate Measures
Ashley Park, KPOP

Kelvin Moon Loh, Austin Ku, George Takei, Marc Oka, and Thom Sesma in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus
Kelvin Moon Loh, Austin Ku, George Takei, Marc Oka, and Thom Sesma in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Sean Patrick Doyle, Jerry Springer – The Opera
Brandon Gill, Bella: An American Tall Tale
Paolo Montalban, Bella: An American Tall Tale
Thom Sesma, Pacific Overtures
Jason Tam, KPOP

Jason Tam as Epic, the leader of the boy band F8, in KPOP. (© Ben Arons)
Jason Tam as Epic, the leader of the boy band F8, in KPOP. (© Ben Arons)

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim 

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Vanessa Kai, KPOP
Tiffany Mann, Jerry Springer – The OperaQuincy Tyler Bernstine
Maryann Plunkett, The Lucky Ones
Myra Lucretia Taylor, The Lucky Ones
Adina Verson, The Lucky Ones

Outstanding Scenic Design
Gabriel Hainer Evansohn, KPOP
Anna Fleischle, Hangmen
Laura Jellinek, Mary Jane
Amy Rubin, Miles for Mary
Louisa Thompson, In The Blood

Outstanding Costume Design
Dede M. Ayite, Bella: An American Tall Tale
Dede M. Ayite, School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play
Tricia Barsamian, KPOP
Tilly Grimes, The Government Inspector
Emily Rebholz, The Low Road

Outstanding Lighting Design
Alan C. Edwards, Harry Clarke
Bradley King, The Treasurer
Ben Stanton, The Low Road
Japhy Weideman, Mary Jane
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, KPOP

Outstanding Sound Design
Mikhail Fiksel, The Treasurer
Leah Gelpe, Mary Jane
Bray Poor, The Last Match
Bray Poor, Office Hour
Brandon Wolcott, After the Blast

Outstanding Projection Design
Lucy Mackinnon, After the Blast
Alexander V. Nichols, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me
Brad Peterson, The Stone Witch
Hannah Wasileski, Pipeline
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, Relevance

Productions with multiple nominations
KPOP (9)
Bella: An American Tall Tale (6)
Mary Jane (6)
The Lucky Ones (5)
Pipeline (5)
Jerry Springer – The Opera (4)
The Low Road (4)
Miles for Mary (4)
School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (4)
The Treasurer (4)
After the Blast (3)
Cost of Living (3)
Desperate Measures (3)
Harry Clarke (3)
Jesus Hopped The “A” Train (3)
Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (2)
The Government Inspector (2)
Hundred Days (2)
In the Blood (2)
Pacific Overtures (2)
Torch Song (2)

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