More "Magic to Do": Broadway's Ben Vereen Plays Town Hall Feb. 18

News   More "Magic to Do": Broadway's Ben Vereen Plays Town Hall Feb. 18
 
Ben Vereen, the Tony Award-winning song-and-dance man of Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar and Wicked, will sing, dance and reminisce about his life and career Feb. 18 at The Town Hall in midtown Manhattan.

His 8 PM concert coincides with this week's release of his new CD, "Stepping Out With Ben Vereen," on the Ghostlight Records label.

The artist explained the concert experience in Playbill.com's Brief Encounter interview in recent days.  "[The concert] starts off with something from From Brooklyn to Broadway, which talks a little bit about the show that we're writing — a one-man show for Broadway or a new tour," he said. "That show is going to be multimedia, but we'll give you a little excerpt of it. And then we're going to go into a section I call 'My Heroes,' which is legends, which talks about Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and those people. It'll cover the theatre of [Bob] Fosse and [Jesus Christ Superstar director] Tom O'Horgan, who nobody talks about anymore. You know, Tom O'Horgan had four hit shows on Broadway at the same time! Unheard of! But nobody talks about him."

Joining him on stage will be a four-piece band: drummer Marc Dicciani, bass player Thomas Kennedy, music director and keyboard player Nelson Kole and drummer Aaron Vereen.

 

How does the actor-singer feel about being called "a song-and-dance man"? "Song-and-dance man" [is] fine," Vereen said. "That's how I started out. Those are my foundations."

He is never shy talking about surviving a 1992 accident in which his leg was broken, he lost his spleen and endured a tracheotomy.

"I was in bad shape in '92," he explained. "And so what you see on stage is truly a neon sign for how we all can have possibilities. I called Chita [Rivera], and I said, 'Chita, how am I going to dance again?' She said, 'You'll dance, but you'll dance differently, and viva la difference!' And so, I'm moving in that light, and feeling very good about it."

Vereen won the Tony Award for his renowned performance in Bob Fosse's Pippin, and has also starred on Broadway in Wicked, Fosse, Chicago, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, Jelly's Last Jam, Grind, A Christmas Carol and I'm Not Rappaport. He recently guest starred on "How I Met Your Mother" and previously appeared on "Grey's Anatomy" (Prism Award), "Law & Order: CI," and starred in the Hallmark movie "An Accidental Friendship" (NAACP nominee). Recently he starred in the new play Fetch Clay, Make Man, directed by Des McAnuff, which is aming for Broadway in 2012.

Tickets are $50 and $45 through Ticketmaster.com or at (800) 982-2787, or at the The Town Hall box office at 123 W. 43rd Street.

For more information, visit www.the-townhall-nyc.org.

Vereen performing "Mr. Cellophane" on "The Muppet Show":

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