Just months after college graduation, Jake Levy from the Class of 2014 shines in a new musical
Jake Levy, a 2014 graduate of Great Neck North High School, landed the role of Dwayne in the world premiere of the Off-Broadway musical Superhero, which opened at the Tony Kiser Theater at 305 West 43rd St. on Feb. 28, working alongside legends Tom Kitt, John Logan, Kate Baldwin and Bryce Pinkham.
Unlike many of the shows currently being performed, Superhero is an original musical straight out of the minds of Kitt and Logan. Not drawn from source material, only pure creativity, Superhero stands out as one of the few totally fresh musicals in production today.
As they mourn the loss of their husband and father, the musical explores a mother-and-son relationship, as the gentlemanly, yet mysterious, Jim becomes a part of their lives. The story brings audiences into a very human tale that evokes emotion in everyone it touches.
Levy’s interest in musical theater began at a young age and was nurtured as he took part in the Shelby Theater program in Great Neck, playing Peter Pan and other characters that helped shape him into a well-rounded actor at a young age.
At North High, he was involved in theater all four years, playing Marius in Les Miserables in 2012, Bobby Strong in Urinetown in 2013 and Lt. Joseph Cable in South Pacific in 2014.
After graduating from the Ray Bolger Musical Theatre Program at UCLA, Levy returned to New York to audition for roles in various productions and landed a role in Superhero a few months later.
“At any program, they try to preserve your innocence and keep you in the school to nurture your talent before letting you out into the world, so that once you graduate you’re ready to go,” said Levy about his experience at UCLA. “My school really did prepare me for the professional world. The productions I was part of at school were put on the same way as Superhero, so I felt that I was well prepared for this new experience.”
It’s no secret that this field is quite difficult to break into, and landing a role in a brand-new musical shortly after graduation was no simple feat. Levy is grateful to the Great Neck community, which has nourished his love for theater his whole life.
“The best advice I’ve received and can give to others came from actor Adam Canter, who is also from Great Neck,” said Levy. “You’re going into these audition rooms and they have a problem—they need to cast this role. You want to walk in there and be the answer to their problem. If you apologize for what you’re doing, they’re not going to be confident in you and what you have to offer.”
Beaming with confidence and content in his current work, Levy talked about his experience working with industry icons in putting together this brand-new show. In his previous experiences, he has been given a script and music that had previously been performed countless times, providing him with a great amount of material and inspiration to work with.
In preparing for Superhero, he tapped into his own creativity to mold his role into something unique and entertaining. He had to be ready for his lines, cues and notes that could be changed at any moment by the show’s producers. The high-energy process of creating an original show with industry professionals is what many young, creative people strive to be part of.
“It’s absolutely wild to be working with them,” said Levy. “It’s a crazy concept and, at first, there’s fangirling a little bit, as reality sets in. John Logan won the Tony for Red and wrote movies like Gladiator. Jason Moore directed and produced the Pitch Perfect movies. The cast members are Broadway veterans, Tony-nominated actors and everything else under the umbrella. I’m learning so much every day being a witness to the beautiful story being created by these beautiful minds.”