A fortnight ago, versatile and accomplished performer Ben Vereen was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame on Broadway, one of the highest honors an artist could ever hope to achieve. With a career that spans over four decades, Ben Vereen , a song and dance and acting master, has performed worldwide.
A gifted speaker, he will be at Sacred Heart University’s Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts in Fairfield at 3 p.m., Sunday, February 19 as part of their American Legends Series. The range of topics he may discuss span his colorful career, overcoming adversity, Black history, arts in education, recovery through physical and occupational therapy, motivation, the importance of continuing education or his charitable causes like diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome and a drug free America.
In an Actors Studio conversation with Jerry Goehring, the center’s Executive Director, he will reflect on his careers on stage, film and television as well as show clips of films from his multitude of productions.
Ben Vereen is a consummate entertainer, a triple threat, singing, dancing and acting for decades. Perhaps you remember him as Judas Iscariot in ”Jesus Christ Superstar,” as the Wizard of Oz in “Wicked,” as the Leading Actor in “Pippin,” the story of the son of Charlemagne, as “Chicken George” Moore noted for his cockfighting skills in Alex Haley’s miniseries “Roots,” or even as Mayor Ben, the leopard in “Zoobilee Zoo.”
Vereen is currently working on “Tenacity,” a show he is readying for a Broadway debut in July, featuring himself and his band, of which his son is a member. The show will feature rock and reggae music and expand on how we overcome and persevere, the determination we need to survive. It will characterize how he, himself, lives his life and determines his career path, by knowing who he is. It will also pay tribute to men like Sammy Davis, Jr. and Bob Fosse who were his mentors.
For tickets ($25, student/faculty $20, seniors $15), call the Edgerton Center, on the campus of Sacred Heart University, 5151 Park Avenue, Fairfield (off the Merritt, exit 47) or online at www.EdgertonCenter.org. The next American Legend will be Mickey Rooney, Saturday, March 24 at 7 p.m.
Let the iconic Ben Vereen share insights into a life filled with triumphs and tragedies and how he had the ‘tenacity’ to succeed.