One year ago, Logan Sejas had just learned he had landed his first professional acting role.
The Franklin 10-year-old had done some community theater and volunteer roles, but he had never been chosen for a major performance.
But in just 12 months, he has portrayed Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol” and Michael in “Mary Poppins.” Now, he’s landed a role in one of the largest traveling Broadway productions in the country.
Logan has been cast as Chip in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and leaves for New York City in two weeks to begin rehearsals. While his friends and classmates are getting settled into the beginning of a new school year, he and his family are preparing for the greatest challenge yet in his young acting career.
“It’s exciting to get to go around the U.S., and I’ll get to see a lot of my family, who are farther away than I usually can go,” Logan said. “I’ve always wanted to be on Broadway, and this is pretty close to it.”
“Beauty and the Beast” is based on the classic Disney movie of the same name. Beloved children’s characters such as Belle, the Beast, Lumiere and Mrs. Potts come to life, singing familiar songs such as “Something There” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Logan will be Chip, the son of Mrs. Potts who was turned into a teacup when the Beast’s castle was cursed.
“When I was a kid I watched ‘Beauty and the Beast’ a lot. I never really paid attention to Chip, but now I definitely will,” he said.
Logan started acting when he was 6 years old. Most of his experience comes from community theater and school plays. For the past two years, he’s portrayed Hansel in “Zirkus Grimm,” a retelling of well-known fairy tales put on by Indianapolis troupe Q Artistry.
But Logan’s quick rise through the acting ranks took off last fall, when he was cast as one of two Tiny Tims in the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre’s version of “A Christmas Carol.”
He went from practicing a few times a week to heading to the theater every day for more than a month.
His next role was even more demanding. Playing Michael Banks in the Beef & Boards Dinner Theater production of “Mary Poppins,” his rehearsals often went for nine hours or more.
But the long hours didn’t tarnish his enthusiasm for the role, said Eddie Curry, artistic director at Beef & Boards.
“Logan is a fantastic young talent. His professionalism and maturity go far beyond his years,” he said. “He makes strong character choices and listens and executes direction better than some adults I have worked with. The future is bright for this kid.”
It was through Beef & Boards that the Sejases learned about the opportunity in “Beauty and the Beast.”
One of the other actors in “Mary Poppins” had already landed a role in the musical and reported that producers were still looking to fill the final characters, including Chip.
Logan was encouraged to make an audition tape and send it in.
“We sent in a video, didn’t hear anything for a couple of months, and I didn’t think anything more of it,” said Kandra Sejas, Logan’s mom. “Then a few weeks ago, I got a call, saying they loved Logan’s video, and the creative team wanted him to fly to New York to audition.”
Logan and Kandra Sejas traveled to New York in late July for the audition. On the morning of his rehearsal, Logan woke up with a sore throat. He was so nervous, his body was shaking, he said.
But like a true professional, his nerves calmed as soon as he started reciting his lines and practicing his songs for the audition.
“Everyone at the audition was really nice, and if I made a mistake or needed to make improvements, they were really nice about it. They took good care of me,” he said.
The Sejas family learned that Logan has received the part of Chip in early August. Even after auditioning and considering the possibility of making the role, the news came as a shock.
“The woman who called actually said, ‘Are you still there?’ because I was in complete and total shock. And I think I still am,” Kandra Sejas said. “We support him and think that he can do anything. But this is so huge that we didn’t think it would happen this early.”
Since then, the days have been a rush of making arrangements and preparing to move to New York City. Logan will be rehearsing the show for a month starting Aug. 24, then “Beauty and the Beast” goes on the road from Sept. 30 until April 9, 2015.
The entire Sejas family will be making the move. Kandra Sejas has been hired by the producers to serve as a tutor and overseer for Logan. He will be home-schooled in between performances and rehearsals, and since Logan is the only child in the production, it made sense to have his mother simply fill that role.
Daniel Sejas, Logan’s father, will also accompany the production, bringing Logan’s siblings Corbin and Gabby with him in a passenger van the family purchased.
He travels for his job in biotechnology already, and will fly out of whatever airport the production company is nearest to.
“It’s been crazy, but we’ve decided to do it as a family. It’s going to be a huge year-long adventure,” Kandra Sejas said.