Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Thom Sesma is the keynote speaker for the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) at the Mary Pickford Theater on May 17

Thom Sesma. (Photo by Lia Chang)

Thom Sesma. (Photo by Lia Chang)

On Thursday, May 17, 2012, actor/director Thom Sesma, who just completed a two and half year run as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas, will speak at the Mary Pickford Theater located on the third floor of the Library of Congress James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. at noon. His talk is part of the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) noon events in May, sponsored by the LC Asian American Association.

Sesma just participated in the all-star Shinsai: Theaters for Japan benefit at Cooper Union’s Great Hall in NYC, in memory of the tragic events of March 2011 and in tribute to the heroic recovery efforts of the Japanese people.

In rehearsal at Lincoln Center for Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, a collaborative benefit by New York’s leading theater companies as a gesture of solidarity with theater communities in Japan devastated by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami, on March 9, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

In rehearsal at Lincoln Center for Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, a collaborative benefit by New York’s leading theater companies as a gesture of solidarity with theater communities in Japan devastated by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami, on March 9, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang


Photos: In Rehearsal with Director Bartlett Sher and the cast of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan
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

The Broadway vet is a familiar presence on the Great White Way, Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, and on television. In January 2012, he returned to New York from Las Vegas where he played Scar in Disney’s The Lion King for a two and a half year run at The Mandalay Bay Theatre.

Thom Sesma (Photo by Lia Chang)

Thom Sesma (Photo by Lia Chang)


On Broadway he starred in the Twyla Tharp-Bob Dylan collaboration, The Time They Are A Changin’. Other credits on and off Broadway and in national tours include leading roles in Miss Saigon, Titanic, Search & Destroy, Man of La Mancha (2003), and in Ivanov, Rashomon, Baba Goya, In a Pig’s Valise, As Thousands Cheer, A Hard Heart, Cymbeline, and Othello. Other credits include Durango, Dinner with Friends, The Molly Maguires, Romeo & Juliet, The Normal Heart, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale and The King & I, at some of America’s leading theatres including Yale Rep, The McCarter, The Old Globe, Arena Stage, Baltimore Centre Stage, Berkeley Rep, and others.

TV and film credits include guest starring roles on “Person of Interest,” “Third Watch,” “Law & Order,” “Whoopi,” “Trinity,” “Lay the Favorite,” “Over/Under,” among many others and daytime soaps. He trained for several years with the late Uta Hagen, with Sam Waterston, and voice with Joan Lader.

His directing credits include Jennifer Camp’s Natural History, (Walnut Street Theatre), LIFE (x) 3 (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), and Outcry (NAATCO), along with Hair, Lend Me a Tenor, The Drawer Boy, Once in a Lifetime, Waiting for Lefty and others in various regional and stock theatres across the country.

Sesma as a member of Actors Equity Association (AEA), Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (SAG-AFTRA), and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).

Thom was born in Sasebo, Japan (his mother is Japanese and his father was a Latino-American) and raised in San Diego, California. He is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, where he holds a degree in Modern European Intellectual History.

Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
From May 1 through May 31, 2012, “In Rehearsal”, a display of photographs drawn from the Library of Congress’ Asian American Pacific Islander Collection, is on view in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room, located in Room 150 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The hours of the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room are 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Lia Chang with her Lia Chang Theater Portfolio "In Rehearsal" photographs on view through May 31, 2012, in the Library of Congress'  Asian Division Reading Room, in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington D.C, on May 5, 2012.

Lia Chang with her Lia Chang Theater Portfolio “In Rehearsal” photographs on view through May 31, 2012, in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room, in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington D.C, on May 5, 2012.


Sponsored by the Library of Congress’ Asian Division, the display of “In Rehearsal” photographs, drawn from the AAPI Collection’s Lia Chang Theater Portfolio, along with select working scripts from the Playwrights’ Archives including the plays of Rick Shiomi, Velina Hasu Houston, Christine Toy Johnson, Reme Grefalda, Jeanne Sakata, and Lani Montreal, is being held in conjunction with the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM).
Selected scripts from the Performing Arts Playwright Series in the Library of Congress' AAPI Collection.  Photo by Lia Chang

Selected scripts from the Performing Arts Playwright Series in the Library of Congress’ AAPI Collection. Photo by Lia Chang


The 54 photographs on display feature the following artists rehearsing for “opening night”: Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, a collaborative benefit by New York’s leading theater companies as a gesture of solidarity with theater communities in Japan devastated by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami; Katie Hae Leo’s Four Destinies, produced by Mu Performing Arts in Minneapolis MN; BD Wong and Wayne Barker’s King Matt the First with Wong directing Rosie O’Donnell’s Theater Kids; Cindy Cheung’s SPEAK UP CONNIE a one-person show also directed by BD Wong; David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish at the Goodman Theatre, prior to its Broadway run; Darren Lee, Director/Choregrapher of Disney Wishes; Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas; and the cast of Bakwas Bumbug!, a pop opera by Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri.
Thom Sesma, who portrayed Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, in his dressing room on August 23, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang

Thom Sesma, who portrayed Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, in his dressing room on August 23, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang


Multimedia: Exclusive photos and video of Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas -In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
“The historical importance of these rehearsal photographs by photographer Lia Chang is in its documentation of Asian American theater in a working and evolving environment. The camera captures the spontaneous interactions among actors, playwright, stage director, choreographer, producer, and musicians before opening night,” said Remé Grefalda, curator of the AAPI Collection at the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room is located in Room 150 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The hours of the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room are 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Selected scripts from the Performing Arts Playwright Series in the Library of Congress' AAPI Collection.  Photo by Lia Chang

Selected scripts from the Performing Arts Playwright Series in the Library of Congress’ AAPI Collection. Photo by Lia Chang


The Library of Congress is the central repository for all types of Asian publications that are not broadly available at other locations in the United States. Initiated in 1869 with a gift of 10 works in 934 volumes offered to the United States by the Emperor of China, the Library’s Asian collection of more than 2 million items is the largest and most comprehensive outside of Asia. For more information about the division and its holdings, go to www.loc.gov/rr/asian/.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

Library of Congress'Asian Division Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington D.C.  Photo by Lia Chang

Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington D.C. Photo by Lia Chang

Click here for more articles on Thom Sesma.
Other Articles by Lia Chang
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Multimedia: Exclusive photos and video of Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas -In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Portraits of New York Chinatown after 9/11 by Lia Chang in “Post 9/11”: Commemorative Display at Library of Congress
Up Close and Personal with Rick Shiomi, Award-winning Playwright & Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts
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
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
broadwayworld.com: Chinglish in Rehearsal

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Epic Theatre Presents Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths, starring Joel de la Fuente, May 20-21, 2012
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Oskar Eustis, BD Wong, Brian d’Arcy James, Francis Jue, Jennifer Lim and Leigh Silverman at WNYC’s The Greene Space
Raymond J. Lee and Ali Ewoldt star in Concert Reading of Jason Ma’s Gold Mountain on May 21, 2012
BD Wong to Star in Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE for 2 Nights Only as a Benefit for Dixon Place, 5/21, 5/22
Filmmaker Justin Lin Acquires Film Rights to David Henry Hwang’s Critically Acclaimed Broadway Comedy Chinglish

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

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography


Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 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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