PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Newsies' Ben Fankhauser

By Matthew Blank
September 10, 2013

Ben Fankhauser, who plays the role of Davey in Broadway's Newsies, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.



This marks Fankhauser's Broadway debut. He was also seen in the first national tour of Spring Awakening.





Full given name: Benjamin Charles Fankhauser
Where you were born/where you were raised: Born in Zurich, Switzerland and raised in Cleveland, Ohio.
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Siblings: I have an older brother.
Current audition song/monologue: I love to sing "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"
Special skills: Dialects, licensed driver, great with children.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Video games
First Broadway show you ever saw: The Annie Get Your Gun with Reba McEntire
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? Starmites
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: I saw Love's Labour's Lost at Shakespeare in the Park and loved it!
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: I love "The Riddle Song" from Floyd Collins
Some favorite modern musicals: Rent, Spring Awakening, Floyd Collins, Next to Normal, The Light in the Piazza
Some favorite classic musicals: Sweeney Todd, Carousel, Mame, How To Succeed, South Pacific
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: Smokie Norful, Marc Broussard, Sam Cooke, to name a few.
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: I saw Beyonce at Roseland. It was incredible.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Adam Guettel's music can make me cry.
MAC or PC? MAC all the way.
Most played song on your iPod: Right now it's probably "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke
Most-visited websites: YouTube.com and amazon.com
Last book you read: Honestly, good question...
Must-see TV show(s): Recently I've been loving "Orange Is The New Black." My other favorites are "Breaking Bad" and "The Office."
Last good movie you saw: I recently saw "Monsters University." I thought it was great!
Some films you consider classics: "Cool Runnings," "Dumb And Dumber," "Titanic"
Pop culture guilty pleasure: I guess trashy reality TV. You can probably catch me watching "Dance Moms" or "Breaking Amish."
Three favorite cities: New York, London, San Francisco
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: I want to say it was Ace of Base on cassette. I also vaguely remember an Andrew Lloyd Webber compilation CD.
What are some of your most memorable roles as a kid or teenager and how old were you? One of my first roles was at a theatre day camp. I played Crutchie in a homemade version of Newsies. If you ask my family, however, my career peaked when I made my star turn as Joseph in Joseph… in the 6th grade.
First stage kiss: Taylor Hess. She was the Marian to my Harold Hill in our 7th and 8th grade production of The Music Man. (Hey Taylor!)
How you got your Equity card: I got it doing the first national tour of Spring Awakening.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where) I love a breakfast sandwich before a matinee. I frequently visit Chop't when I want to get my salad on. I also love some post show sushi. And pizza.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Vita-Coco coconut water. (Hey Vita, did you get the fan mail I sent?!)
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I usually like to visit people and chat. I also make my entrance about 20 minutes after the show starts so I have plenty of time to stretch and warm up my voice.
Five favorite Disney characters (not counting Newsies): Princess Tiana - gotta love Anika Noni Rose
The Genie
Sebastian
Simba
Rafiki
What has been the biggest challenge about this project? Well, we do a tiny bit of dancing over at Newsies so I think the biggest challenge for me was getting comfortable doing choreography next to some of the best dancers on Broadway. I'll never be as good as Ryan Steele, but I take it one day at a time.
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect? Newsies is all about the young generation standing up for what they believe in. Working together to change the world and demand a place at the table. I love to hear from fans that this show has inspired them to make a change, work harder, or stand up for what they believe in. It's the best feeling to know that what I do inspires others to achieve greatness.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: When I was on tour with Spring Awakening, I missed an entrance. We arrived in a new city and I didn't properly acquaint myself with the space. I went down the wrong staircase and ended up in some basement. Then, I heard my cue line on stage and I was SO HORRIFIED. Needles to say, I eventually made it on stage and have never missed an entrance since. Lesson learned: explore your theatres!
Worst costume ever: I was in Jesus Christ Superstar in high school and I had to wear a loin cloth made out of a dance belt and cloth. One night, I put it on sideways or backwards or something and well... let's just say there was a slight crescent moon.
If you could trade roles with anyone in the cast for a week, who would it be? Medda, of course. She sings a song called "That's Rich" which has become a personal anthem of mine.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Bobby Strong in Urinetown
Leading lady role you'd like a shot at: Ti Moune in Once On This Island
Something about you that surprises people: That I was born in Switzerland. (Grüetzi!)
Something you are incredibly proud of: My friends. (Is that corny? I don't care.)
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I've never been to Brooklyn. (Ugh I know!)
Career you would want if not a performer: Probably a teacher of some kind. Maybe a music teacher.
Three things you can't live without: Fried chicken, my piano, my iPad
"I'll never understand why…" … people don't turn off their cellphones when they're seeing plays and movies!! Get it together!
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Be nice to everyone. Learn everything you can. There is always something to learn in every class you take, every song or scene you study, and any movie, play or TV show you watch. Don't compare your journey with anyone else's. Stay true to who you are!