Actor Sebastian Arcelus

Sebastian Carlos Arcelus (born November 5, 1976) is an American actor, best known for his roles as Lucas Goodwin in the Netflix TV series House of Cards (2013–2016) and Jay Whitman in the CBS TV series Madam Secretary (2014–2019). Arcelus began his acting career in the early 2000s and spent the first decade of his career on Broadway, having played Roger in Rent, Fiyero in Wicked, Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys, and Buddy in Elf, among other roles.

Early life and background

Arcelus was born in New York City, New York, the son of Nobile Fiammetta Farace di Villaforesta (b. Budapest, Hungary, February 19, 1940) and Victor Carlos Arcelus. He is a first generation American, and is of Uruguayan descent on his father’s side and of Italian, Russian, Serbian and German descent on his mother’s. He is bilingual in Spanish and English.

Arcelus grew up in Port Washington on Long Island, New York. He attended Williams College and graduated in 1999 with a degree in political science.

Royal ancestry

Arcelus’ maternal grandparents were Ruggero Farace, Marchese di Villaforesta, and Princess Catherine Ivanovna of Russia, who was the daughter of Prince Ioann Konstantinovich of Russia and Princess Helen of Serbia, the daughter of King Peter I of Serbia and his wife Princess Zorka of Montenegro. Princess Catherine Ivanovna of Russia was the last member of the House of Romanov to be born in Russia before the Russian Revolution.

Based on his matrilinear ancestry, Sebastian is direct descendant of Emperors of Russia, King of Serbia and King of Montenegro, and is related to all European royal families. For example, he is fourth cousin twice removed to Queen Elizabeth II and second cousin twice removed to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Through his maternal grandmother, he is also third cousin once removed of American actress Catherine Oxenberg, with whom he shares the same Serbian ancestry. As a descendant of Sophia of Hanover, he is distantly[note 1] in the line of succession to the British throne.


2000–2011: Early career and Broadway

Arcelus has made a career in theater on Broadway, regionally, and internationally. He began his career in the early 2000s, and spent three years working at an international business firm while auditioning and performing in amateur theater at night. He performed in a handful of small New York theater productions as well as regional productions like that of The Who’s Tommy in Newark, New Jersey in 2000 and Big River in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He joined the repertory theater company of Weathervane Theatre in Whitefield, New Hampshire for their 2001 season; at Weathervane, he performed in productions including Floyd Collins, Cabaret, and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Following this experience he took part in a bilingual production of West Side Story in Guatemala.

Arcelus made his Broadway debut in 2002 in Rent, first as a swing, covering the male ensemble roles as well as Mark and Roger, and then as Roger throughout the first half of 2003. He remained with Rent as a swing until Fall 2004.

Some of his first professional screen acting roles were for English-language dubs of animated TV shows. He continued to do this throughout the 2000s and voiced characters in shows including Winx Club and multiple series within the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. In 2004, Arcelus appeared in the movie musical Temptation, with Broadway stars Alice Ripley, Adam Pascal, and Zoe Saldana, among many others.

During the Spring of 2005, he starred as Jan in the original cast of the Beach Boys musical, Good Vibrations. He played Fiyero on the first national tour of Wicked from January 3 until October 3, 2006. He then reprised the role of Fiyero in the Broadway production from January 9 to December 16, 2007. Arcelus was featured on iChannel, an interactive 2006 web-series about “a self-conscious young man who finds his life taken over by a video blog.”

He starred as Bob Gaudio in the Broadway production of Jersey Boys from January 10, 2008 to January 11, 2009. before starring in Happiness, a musical which ran Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater for fourteen weeks beginning on February 27, 2009. He resumed the role of Bob Gaudio in the Broadway production of Jersey Boys on July 14, 2009 and finished the role on October 10, 2010.

He originated the role of Buddy in Elf the Musical for a limited engagement run from November 10, 2010, through January 2, 2011, at Broadway’s Al Hirschfeld Theater.

He assumed the role of Jack Chesney in Where’s Charley? in a concert production as part of New York City Center’s Encores! series from March 17–20, 2011. From May 6 through June 19, 2011, took part in the original stage production of A Time to Kill, premiering at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., based on the John Grisham novel of the same name; Arcelus originated the role of Jake Brigance. Later that summer, Arcelus filmed and helped produce the independent feature film The Last Day of August, which premiered in October 2012. In November 2011, Arcelus starred in an off-Broadway limited engagement musical production of The Blue Flower at Second Stage, along with Marc Kudisch and Teal Wicks.

2012–present: Madam Secretary and other television roles

In 2012, Arcelus starred in the independent film The Last Day of August. Later that year, he was cast as Lucas Goodwin in the Netflix TV series House of Cards. From 2013 to 2016, he had a recurring role in the show’s first, second, and fourth seasons. In 2013, Arcelus reprised his role of Jake Brigance in the Broadway production of A Time To Kill at the Golden Theatre in New York City, which premiered on October 20, 2013.

As part of the collective The Grundleshotz, Arceus co-wrote the musical Gettin’ the Band Back Together. Following four years of improvisational rehearsals, the musical debuted regionally in 2013 at the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey before receiving a pre-Broadway workshop in 2014. The musical played on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre during Summer 2018.

In early 2014, he was cast in the Cinemax pilot Blanco. Soon after, he also joined the cast The Best of Me, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name.

In 2014, he began portraying Jay Whitman on the CBS drama Madam Secretary. After having a recurring role during the first two seasons of the show, Arcelus became part of the main cast for the final four seasons of the show; he acted in one hundred episodes before the series concluded in December 2019.

Since 2014, Arcelus has also had small roles in the films Ted 2 (2015) and Split (2016), as well as guest roles in shows including The Leftovers, FBI, and Bull. He joined the cast of the Steve McQueen miniseries Codes of Conduct, which was given a limited series order by HBO in 2015. The project was ultimately scrapped by the network the following year. In 2016, Arcelus had a six-episode arc in HBO’s The Deuce.

Personal life

Arcelus married his Wicked co-star Stephanie J. Block on October 16, 2007, with a religious ceremony following on October 25, 2007 in Tuscany. Block played Elphaba in Wicked, both on the national tour and on Broadway. Their daughter Vivienne Helena Arcelus was born on January 19, 2015.

Acting credits


Year Title Role Notes
2012 The Last Day of August Mark Also producer
2014 The Best of Me Frank
2015 Ted 2 Dr. Ed Danzer
2016 Split Mr. Cooke


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Person of Interest Matthews Episode: 1×05 “Judgemet”
2013–14, 2016 House of Cards Lucas Goodwin Recurring (Season 1–2, 4); 17 episodes
2014 Blanco Andy Silver TV pilot
2014 It Could Be Worse Howard 2 episodes
2014 The Leftovers Doug Durst 2 episodes
2014–2019 Madam Secretary Jay Whitman Main cast (Season 1-5); Guest (Season 6); 100 episodes
2015 Codes of Conduct Simon TV pilot
2018 The Deuce Dave Hiller 6 episodes
2019 FBI Drew Harper Episode: 2×02 “The Lives of Others”
2019 Bull Eric Crawford Episode: 4×08 “Safe and Sound”

Voiceover and English-language dubbing

Year Title Role Notes
2001–2004 Yu-Gi-Oh! Espa Roba, Rex Raptor 9 episodes
2001 Pokemon: The Legend of Thunder Vincent TV miniseries
2001–2002 Shaman King Yoh Asakura / Zeke Asakura
2002 Seven of Seven Mutsumi
2002–2003 Ultimate Muscle Road Rage / Additional Voices
2003 Samurai Deeper Kyo Hotaru
2004 Gokusen Youichi Minami
2004 Phoenix Adam
2004 Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light Additional voices TV movie
2004 Shrine of the Morning Mist Tadahiro Amatsu
2004 Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys Rafe TV movie
2004–2007 Winx Club (4Kids Entertainment edit) Timmy/Palladium 78 episodes
2005–2010 Go, Diego, Go! Papi/Additional voices 13 episodes
2005–2012 Dora the Explorer Various voices
2007 Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Marcel (Martin Kanou)
2007 Dinosaur King Rex Ancient (Rex Owen)
2008 Man of the People Little G / Miscellaneous
2009 Turtles Forever ’87 Raphael TV movie
2012–2015 Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Vetrix
2014 Dora the Explorer: Into the City Various voices

Theater credits

Year Title Role Venue Notes
2001 Floyd Collins Homer Collins Weathervane Theatre:
July – August 2001
Regional revival
2002–2004 Rent Swing
Understudy: Mark, Roger
Nederlander Theatre:
May 2002 – Dec 2002
Broadway replacement
Roger Nederlander Theatre:
Dec 2002 – June 2003
Understudy: Mark, Roger
Nederlander Theatre:
July 2003– Nov 2004
2004 Caligula Germanicus Theatre at St. Clements:
Sept – Oct 2004
New York Musical Theatre Festival production
2004–2005 Good Vibrations Jan / Ensemble Eugene O’Neill Theatre:
Nov 2004 – Apr 2005
Original Broadway cast
2005 The Full Monty Ethan Girard North Shore Music Theatre:
November 2005
Regional revival
2006–2007 Wicked Fiyero National tour:
Jan – Oct 2006
National tour replacement
Gershwin Theatre:
Jan – Dec 2007
Broadway replacement
2008–2010 Jersey Boys Bob Gaudio August Wilson Theatre:
Jan 2008 – Jan 2009
Broadway replacement
August Wilson Theatre:
Jul 2009 – Oct 2010
2009 Happiness Zach Newhouse Theater:
Feb – Jun 2009
Original Off-Broadway cast
2011 Where’s Charley? Jack Chesney New York City Center:
March 2011
Encores! Off-Broadway revival
2011–2013 A Time to Kill Jake Brigance Arena Stage:
May – June 2011
Original Washington D.C. cast
John Golden Theatre:
Oct – Nov 2013
Original Broadway cast
2010–2011 Elf Buddy Al Hirschfeld Theatre:
Nov 2010 – Jan 2011
Original Broadway cast
2011 The Blue Flower Franz Second Stage Theater:
Oct – Nov 2011
Original Off-Broadway cast

External Links

Actor Sebastian Arcelus – Wikipedia

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