Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club

The Friars Club hosted a one night only event last night that will be remembered for many years by Ben Vereen. Chita Rivera brought him to the club for what Ben thought was a small dinner in his honor. When Ben walked out of the elevator the huge mahogany doors of the Milton Berle Room and Barbra Streisand Room swung open to a capacity crowd of Friars shouting "SURPRISE" and singing Happy Birthday. It was an emotional happy celebration as Ben's many friends toasted the legendary performer and humanitarian. Friar Board Member and Chairman of the Friars Admission Committee Bill Boggs officially made Ben Vereen an Honorary Friar. As Bill pointed out to Ben in his presentation, " I have the power to bestow this title on you..... being an Honorary Member entitles you to walk into the club at any time, enjoy a great meal in the Frank Sinatra dinning room.....and pay for it! "

In addition to the many heartfelt toasts by family and friends Mr. Vereen was entertained with performances by Stephanie Pope, Kevin Dozier, Lacy Darryl Phillips, Charlie Romo, Christine Pedi and Leroy Reams. The musical director for the evening was Barry Leviit. Probably the song most remembered by all Friars at this party will be Usher's rendition of Happy Birthday as the Birthday Cake was brought to Ben's table. It's no surprise this surprise party for a legend was held at the legendary Friars Club.

Photo Credit: Stephen Sorokoff

high res photos

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Chita Rivera & Ben Vereen

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Friars Club Surprise Birthday Party

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Ben Vereen

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Friars Club

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Chita Rivera & Ben Vereen

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Surprise

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Ben Vereen & Usher

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Usher & Ben Vereen

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Chita Rivera & Lee Roy Reams

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Christine Pedi, Roma Lopez, Frank C DiLella, Eda Sorokoff

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Happy Birthday Ben

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Ben Vereen

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Ben Vereen

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Ben Vereen

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Ben Vereen & Chita Rivera

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Ben Vereen

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Bill Boggs, Friar Board & Chairman Admissions Committe

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Bill Boggs & Ben Vereen

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Bill Boggs & Ben Vereen

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Ben Vereen Honorary Friar

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Chita Rivera, Lee Roy Reams, Eda Sorokoff

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Riki Kane Larimer, Joshua Bergasse, Eda Sorokoff

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Kevin Dozier & Barry Leviit, music director

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Stephanie Pope

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Lacy Darryl Phillips

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Charlie Romo

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Christine Pedi

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Lee Roy Reams

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Bob Spiotto, Producer "He's almost here"

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
The Frank Sinatra Dining Room

Photos: Inside Ben Vereen's Surprise Birthday Party at Friars Club
Friars Club


Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More Cabaret Stories

From This Author Stephen Sorokoff