Director of Stories
Whether working in live theater, online platforms or film, Seema begins her directing work with the questions: Why is this story necessary today? Who is transformed? Interrogation of each character’s arc surfaces a primary action which informs tone, style, shape, and a distinct and clear vision for the production. Seema pulls together expert teams of playwrights, dramaturgs, actors, scenic, costume, sound, lighting, projection designers and voice, dialect, text, fight, and intimacy coaches as necessary. She collaborates with each artist to optimize their work and elevate complex and truthful performances. Her consensus organizing methodology ensures each production is speaking to, engaged with, and informed by a diversity of communities that build stake in the project.
Please find below production photos, videos, press coverage and reviews of some of
Seema’s directing projects over the past ten years.
Sueko, along with this cast, finds the humor and humanity and awe in asking the big questions when we’re just small humans. And she understands the excitement and awe when you’ve got a piece of an answer that leads to even more wonderful questions.
- Mary Ann Johnson, Jan 30, 2020, review of Silent Sky at Ford’s Theatre, Maryland Theatre Guide
Current directing projects in process:
Virginia Stage Company
October 17 - November 7, 2021 (in rotating repertory)
Two plays set against the backdrop of WWII. In Dear Jack, Dear Louise, we meet U.S. army doctor Jacob Ludwig who begins a correspondence with an emerging Broadway actor Louise Rabiner. The play follows their love story and their challenges as they attempt to cross miles and meet in person. In Hold These Truths we meet Japanese American college student Gordon Hirabayashi who fights the US government's orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. The two stories are launched in 1942, yet the experiences of the three real-life Americans featured in these stories are extremely disparate, demonstrating the multifaceted nature of life in the United States. Love and victory coexist with hate and the painful, important and ongoing pursuit of liberty and justice for all. Then as today. In directing these two stories in rep Seema hopes to widen the lens so we see and embrace more of America, this complex, complicated, and beautiful country. Ticket information may be found here.
Past directing projects:
Shakespeare in Clark Park, Philadelphia, PA
August 29, 2021
Shakespeare in Clark Park (SCP), a small nonprofit theater in Philadelphia, contracted Seema to co-create and direct, with the community of Germantown, Philadelphia, an artistic project to take place outdoors in Germantown’s iconic Vernon Park at the end of August 2021, utilizing Shakespeare’s Pericles as the launching point for creative query. The overall goal was to connect and nourish the soul of the people of Germantown.
Seema led a six-month consensus organizing (CO) process beginning in March 2021, which prioritized the people and narratives of Germantown. Through this process, local residents and organizations co-created and named the project Germantown Plays Pericles, an all-ages fair where audience members perambulated through Vernon Park, interacting with nine 'islands,’ each reflecting a narrative moment in Pericles embodied through a contemporary Germantown activity that included interactive art installations, games, music, breakdancing, mutual aid and resources. The event culminated with an original 30-minute poetic play that refracted Pericles through a tale centering Black Germantown and the community's fight against gentrification. The play was written by Angela Bey and incorporated ideas and writings from community members that surfaced through the CO process. Photos and more info can be found here.
Broadway World: Shakespeare in Clark Park Presents GERMANTOWN PLAYS PERICLES
Land of Smiles is Part One of Erin Kamler's trilogy of new musicals set in Southeast Asia between 2012 and the present. An artist and academic researcher, Erin wrote Land of Smiles as part of her PhD dissertation research at the Annenberg School at USC. Her continued work at the Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process (AGIPP) in Myanmar gave her the fuel to expand her writing into the trilogy. You can learn more about the musical here:
In the pandemic, the creative team worked on adapting Land of Smiles to a podcast format. With the director in Hawaii, actors in California and New York, the writer-composer, musicians, and sound engineer in Thailand, the music supervisor in Michigan, and the sound designer in Chicago, the team recorded a prototype of two songs/scenes.
You may listen to them here:
The team continue to develop the musical trilogy. For queries, contact Gregory Franklin, Producer, Franklin Theatrical Group at email@example.com
Prototype Creative Team: Music Supervisor: David O | Sound Designer: Andre Pluess | Sound Engineer (Thailand): Thomas Van Ness
Podcast Prototype Cast:
Cathy Ang as Lipoh
Melody Butiu as Soon Nu
Veterans Day 2020
A filmed adaptation of the stage play War Words
By Michelle Kholos Brooks
Atlantic Council and Arena Stage, Washington, DC
Creative Team: Virtual Multimedia Designer: Jared Mezzocchi | Sound Design and Original Music: Andre Pluess
Cast: Shaun Baker as Nash | Jacqueline Correa as Amy | Ramón De Ocampo as Nate | Angel Desai as Emily | Justin Emeka as John | Brian Lee Huynh as Dan F. | Alyssa Keegan as Kimberley | Thomas Keegan as Danny | Brian Letscher as Chase
Broadway World: Arena Stage and The Atlantic Council Premiere VETERANS DAY 2020
Welcome remarks: Adrienne Arsht speaks at 0:54;
General David Petraeus speaks at 4:51
The film starts at 10:57
37 minutes long, followed by a talkback.
May 22, 2020, a filmed docudrama
Arena Stage, Washington, DC
Holly Twyford in "A Boiling Frog"
Dawn Ursula in "Joy"
May 22, 2020 captures one day in the life of DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ten individuals were interviewed by 10 DMV playwrights, from which they composed original monologues performed by 10 professional DMV actors. Filmed outdoors with new SAG-AFTRA safety protocols, these two monologues, "A Boiling Frog" and "Joy", were directed by Seema Sueko.
The complete film can be viewed here.
Ford’s Theatre, Washington, DC
January 24 -February 23, 2020
Creative Team: Scenic Design: Milagros Ponce de Leon | Lighting Design: Rui Rita | Costume Design: Ivania Stack | Sound Design: Andre J. Pluess | Choreography: Karma Camp | Hair and Wigs: Anne Nesmith | Dialects and vocal direction: Lisa Nathans | Directing Assistant: Katie Ciszek | Stage Manager: Brandon Prendergast
Cast: Laura C. Harris as Henrietta | Jonathan David Martin as Peter | Holly Twyford as Williamina | Emily Kester as Margaret | Nora Achrati as Annie
Maryland Theatre Guide: This show is an incredible gift to all of us.
Video: Facebook Live Interview
Arena Stage, Washington, DC
October 11 – November 10, 2019
Creative Team: Scenic Design: Paige Hathaway | Projection Design: Shawn Duan | Lighting Design: Adam Honore | Sound Design: Andre Pluess | Costume Design: Ivania Stack | Voice and Dialect Coach: Zach Campion | Dramaturg: Jocelyn Clarke | Directing Assistant: Gregory Keng Strasser | Stage Manager: Kurt Hall
Cast: John Austin as Derril Lark | Melody Butiu as Marta Lee | Rachel Felstein as Annie Zahirovic | Guadalupe Campos as Eve Selinsky | Shubhangi Kuchibhotla as Sarita Imari | Edward O’Blenis as Alvaro Santos
Broadway World: Right to be Forgotten at Arena Stage
DC Metro Theater Arts: Thoughtful ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ at Arena Stage
Arena Stage, Washington, DC
February 8 – March 10, 2019
Fichandler Stage – In-the-round
Creative Team: Costume Design: Ivania Stack | Scenic Design: Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams | Sound Design: Emma Wilk | Lighting Design: Sherrice Mojgani | Wig Design: Anne Nesmith | Voice and Text Coach: Jan Gist | Directing Assistant: Malek Mayo | Stage Manager: Susan R. White
Cast: Laura C. Harris as Catherine Sloper | James Whalen as Austin Sloper | Nancy Robinette as Lavinia Penniman | Jonathan David Martin as Morris Townsend | Janet Hayatshahi as Elizabeth Almond | Lorene Chesley as Marian Almond | Lise Bruneau as Mrs. Montgomery | Kimberly Schraf as Maria | Nathan Whitmer as Arthur Townsend and Coachman
DC Metro Theater Arts: The Heiress at Arena Stage
Video : Interview on WUSA9
VIETGONE by Qui Nguyen
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
August 24 - September 30, 2018
Creative Team: Scenic Design: Jason Sherwood | Lighting Design: Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew |Costume Design: Valerie Bart | Sound Design: Andre Pluess | Rap Consultant: Bianca Mikahn | Fight Choreographer: Geoffrey Kent | Associate Fight Choreographer and Intimacy Consultant: Samantha Egle | Assistant to the Director: Bettina Mueller-Tuescher | Stage Manager: Chris Ewing
Cast: Lisa Helmi Johanson as Tong | Glenn Morizio as Quang | Melody Butiu as Huong and others | Brian Lee Huynh as Nhan and others | Jordon De Leon as Playwright and Others
Broadway World: VIETGONE Gives New Light to the War at DCPA
THE PRICE by Arthur Miller
Arena Stage, Washington, DC
October 6 – November 19, 2017
Creative Team: Scenic Design: Wilson Chin | Lighting Design: Allen Lee Hughes | Sounds Design: Roc Lee | Costume Design: Ivania Stack | Voice and Dialect Coach: Zach Campion | Wig Design: Anne Nesmith | Stage Manager: Trevor A. Riley
Cast: Hal Linden as Gregory Solomon | Maboud Ebrahimzadeh as Victor Franz | Rafael Untalan as Walter Franz | Pearl Sun as Esther Franz | Ricardo Frederick Evans as Victor Franz (extension)
Washington Post: Hal Linden is right for ‘The Price’ at Arena Stage
DC Theatre Scene: Hal Linden in The Price
Creative Team: Scenic Design: Misha Kachman | Lighting Design: Xavier Pierce | Projection Design: Jared Mezzocchi | Sound Design: Andre Pluess | Costume Design: Dede M. Ayite | Wig Design: Anne Nesmith | Vocal Coach: Zach Campion | Stage Manager: Kurt Hall
Cast: Gregory Perri as Brian White | Lorene Chesley as Valerie Johnston | Sue Jin Song as Ginny Yang | Jaysen Wright as Jackson Moore
DC Metro Theater Arts: ‘Smart People’ at Arena Stage
DC Metro Theater Arts: Magic Time!: ‘Smart People’ at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater
THE FANTASTICKS by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt
The Pasadena Playhouse
September 6 – October 2, 2016
Creative Team: Music Director: David O. | Choreographer: Kitty McNamee | Scenic Design: David F. Weiner | Lighting Design: Josh Epstein | Sound Design: Joe Huppert | Costume Design: Shirley Pierson | Fight Director: Tim Weske | Stage Manager: Lurie Pfeffer
Cast: Philip Anthony Rodriguez as El Gallo | Ashley Park as Luisa | Conor Guzman as Matt | Alyse Rockett as Mute | Gedde Watanabe as Hucklebee | Regi Davis as Bellomy | Hal Linden as Henry | Amir Talai as Mortimer
Los Angeles Times: Pasadena Playhouse tweaks 1960s’ ‘The Fantasticks’ for a post-9/11 era
South Pasadenan: Incandescent ‘The Fantasticks’ at Pasadena Playhouse
Video: Tom Jones Speaking about working with
Seema on Re-writes of THE FANTASTICKS
A SINGLE SHARD by Linda Sue Park, adapted by Richard Schenkkan
People’s Light, Malvern, PA
April 27 – May 29, 2016
Creative Team: Choreographer: Jungwoong Kim | Scenic Design: David F. Weiner | Lighting Design: Porsche McGovern | Costume Design: Moria Sine Clinton | Sound Design: Daniel Perelstein | Dramaturg: Gina Pisasale | Stage Manager: Kate McSorley Fossner
Cast: Brian Lee Huynh as Tree-Ear | Graham Smith as Crane Man | Thom Sesma as Master Potter Min | Jeanne Sakata as Min’s Wife / Ensemble | Jade Wu as Min’s Wife replacement/Ensemble | Jungwoong Kim as Deer/Fox/Ensemble | Greg Watanabe as Master Potter Kang/Ensemble | Kevin R. Free as Emissary Kim/Ensemble | Aaron Bell as Apprentice 1/Ensemble | Taysha Canales as Apprentice 2/Ensemble
Theatre Sensation: A SINGLE SHARD at People’s Light is a Beautifully Told Story
DC Metro Theater Arts: ‘A Single Shard’ at People’s Light in Malvern, PA
Video: Vase Dance
REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES by Josefina Lopez
The Pasadena Playhouse
September 8 – October 4, 2015
Creative Team: Scenic Design: David F. Weiner | Lighting Design: Josh Epstein | Sound Design: Cricket Myers | Costume Design: Abel Alvarado | Props Master: Marissa Bergman | Community Organizer: Victor Vazquez | Stage Manager: Jessica R. Aguilar
Cast: Santana Dempsey as Ana | Cristina Frias as Estela | Blanca Araceli as Carmen | Diana DeLaCruz as Rosali | Ingrid Oliu as Pancha
Los Angeles Times: Real Women Have Curves: Funny, Flawed and Fabulous
Stage Scene LA: Wow! Real Women Have Curves
STOP KISS by Diana Son
The Pasadena Playhouse