Review: Superhero, starring Kate Baldwin, Kyle McArthur, and Bryce Pinkham
In the new musical Superhero, now running at Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theater through March 31, Simon (Kyle McArthur) and his mom Charlotte (Kate Baldwin) are still struggling to deal with the death of Simon's dad, two years after the accident that killed him. Simon, who is obsessed with superheroes and comics, copes by drawing the adventures of his own superhero, The Sea Mariner. So when Simon discovers their mysterious neighbor Jim (Bryce Pinkham) he becomes convinced that Jim is a superhero.
Featuring music from Tom Kitt and a book from John Logan, the show has fun songs, though they utilize the typical superhero tropes, such as saving the girl. However, the girl in question is one who definitely doesn't need saving. The show is well written for the most part, save for one or two scenes that felt longer than they should have. One flaw in the show's writing however is that the other teenage characters are not fleshed out at all. Vee (Salena Qureshi), who Simon has a crush on, her best friend Rachel (Julia Abueva), and her ex-boyfriend Dwayne (Jake Levy), are not as developed as they could be.
That said, the show is extremely well cast. Kate Baldwin is perfect as Charlotte, while Kyle McArthur is incredible in his professional stage debut. Another standout is Thom Sesma as Vic, the landlord in Charlotte and Simon's building. The graphics and comic book effects are also standout elements of the show, as we get to see Simon's superhero story play out as he draws it.
The title Superhero leads you to believe that there's a superhero who will come in and save the day. However, at the end of the show it comes to have a much deeper meaning than it does on the surface. As we view the so-called "superhero" of the story through an adult lens and through a teenage boy's eye, the show becomes less about saving the world and more about humanity and the power of human connection, something everyone could learn a little bit more about.