If there’s one thing Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa can be credited with doing is giving the Archie comics universe a modern spin. That meant casting Latina actress Camila Mendes as the iconic Veronica Lodge in Riverdale, making her family the kind that drops “mija” after every other sentence. It meant turning a teenage witch into a rebellious Satanist in the dark and cheeky Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. And for Katy Keene, the latest spinoff of the Archie universe, the playwright turned showrunner has made sure to keep its cast of characters up with the times. And while the show centers on its titular character — a fashionista who’s intent on making it in New York City — the breakout character of the show is sure to be Jorge Lopez, an aspiring Broadway dancer who moonlights as his drag alter ego, “Ginger Lopez.”
Played by Jonny Beauchamp, a Puerto Rican actor from New York, Jorge joins an ever-growing canon of queer characters on television played by actual out and proud performers (see also: Billy Porter in Pose and Stephanie Beatriz in Brooklyn Nine-Nine). In the pilot episode of the show, we see Jorge not only nail a drag performance of “Material Girl” but also fight back against those casting Broadway shows who tell him he doesn’t read “tough enough” for a role. Not one to suffer fools, Jorge is a refreshing character to see on television, a welcome role model who stands his ground and embraces his femininity as wholeheartedly as he does his talent. Moreover, Beauchamp gets the distinction of playing opposite a titan of the stage: Broadway icon and OG RENT star Daphne Rubin-Vega is to recur on the show as his doting mother, an owner of a bodega in Washington Heights.
You can watch the trailer for the show below and catch the pilot episode for free on the CW site or its app.
Katy Keene airs Thursdays 8 p.m. on the CW.