Kelveen @ 'Superhero' - acceptance allows us to be heroes in our world


A musical about a fractured family, the mysterious stranger in apartment 4B and an unexpected hero who just might save the day.


Times Square, New York City 7:40pm

It's a cold winter night and the city is congested with people. The homeless are trying to find shelter while tourists admire the city that never sleeps.

I walk through the crowd and hide my identity behind glasses, a poofy North Face jacket and sweats. I'm annoyed because the tourist in front of me decides to stop and take a selfie in the middle of crowded traffic. I hate walking through Times Square. This is how I know I'm a New York native. I end up at a Starbucks, order a venti hot chocolate, take a seat near a window and unzip my jacket. Across from me is the Second Stage Theater. I'm 20 minutes early, or, as they say in the theatre world, I'm on time. 

There’s a billboard on 43rd Street and Eighth Avenue with the image of a door with stickers that spell out "Superhero." I wonder what the show is about while people walk past my window. I never look up what a show is about online because I feel like I'm going to ruin it for myself. However, I am concerned. I hope that there aren’t any actors using their spiderwebs to swing from one end of the theatre to the other. I ruminate for a few minutes and then check the time. I'm late! I have eight minutes to get to my seat. I pack my things, walk out the door and disappear into the crowd.

The first thing I notice when I get to my seat is that the set has multiple frames made of dark bricks that blend into each other, giving the stage more depth. In the back, there's what I assume to be a cutout of a skyscraper’s silhouette. The set reminds me of comic book panels. Above downstage left, there's a fire escape where the audience sees a young teen drawing. It seems like he's been drawing all day because the sun is setting behind him before the show begins.

The new musical, Superhero, is about a young comic book artist called Simon (Kyle McArthur) who uses his talent to cope with the trauma of his father’s death. Charlotte (Kate Baldwin), Simon's mother, is trying to rebuild her connection with her son, but fails because he has shut her out of his world. With no clues to help her "find her way" for their relationship to heal, Charlotte is stuck waiting for her son to open up to her again. And he does, after he finds out that the mysterious stranger from apartment 4B, Jim (Bryce Pinkham), has superpowers. After Simon gets his mother to flirt with and get to know Jim, he reveals the kind of superhero he is to Simon. It turns out that Jim won't be flying over the heads of any audiences because he locks into the energy of people who are in trouble and transports to them. What makes him one of the most interesting superheroes that I've ever witnessed is the fact that he doesn't always get to save everybody. He's usually forced to make difficult choices about who he’s able to save and that saddens him. Also, the people never get the chance to see or thank him because he comes to save the day in the form of energy. 

In the end, it seems like the characters are all looking for ways to save each other. Jim's goal is to save other people and cope with the guilt that comes from the ones he can’t save, like Simon's father, who he had to let die in order to save Simon. Charlotte's goal is to find a way to fix her fractured family. Simon wants a hero in his life that will always be by his side, which turns out to be his mother. 

In order for people to save the world we have to learn to save each other. It made me think about my impatience with that person that stopped to take a selfie when I was walking to the theatre. Rather than being frustrated, I should've celebrated the fact that this person was enjoying a city as beautiful and diverse as mine. It's that kind of attitude and acceptance that allows us to be heroes in our world.

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