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Tony Award-Winning Actor Ben Vereen Brings a Night of Career Highlights to The Ridgefield Playhouse on 5/21

The Ridgefield Playhouse and Ridgefield Magazine Broadway and Cabaret Series presents a night with the Legendary Tony Award-winning actor Ben Vereen on Sunday, May 21 at 8 p.m. Ben Vereen's performances transcend time and are woven into the fabric of this country's artistic legacy. In this special evening, partially underwritten by Adam Broderick Salon and Spa, you will take a whirlwind trip through Vereen's career and favorite songs - including numbers from Pippin (for which he won the Tony Award) and Jesus Christ Superstar, interspersed with loving and sometimes hilarious anecdotes about some of the Broadway greats he has worked with. The night winds its way through various autobiographically-inspired segments. Media sponsor for this special event is CPBN Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network.

Ben Vereen's journey has taken him to the Broadway stage where he starred in Pippin which garnered him both the prestigious Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for "Best Actor in a Musical". He has also starred in Wicked, Hair, Fosse, I'm Not Rappaport, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grind, Jelly's Last Jam, The Prodigal Son, Sweet Charity, Golden Boy, Gurton's Apocalyptic Needle, No place to be Somebody, Chicago, The Exonerated and A Christmas Carol. On the big screen, Ben can be seen in the movies Sweet Charity, Funny Lady, All That Jazz, Idlewild, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, The Zoo Gang, Buy & Cell, I'll Take you There, The Painting, And Then Came Love, Tapioca and Mama, I Want to Sing. He did voice overs for the animated movies Khumba and Once Upon a Forrest. Ben most recently co-starred with Chris Rock in Paramount Studios' feature film Top Five and with Richard Gere in the film Time Out of Mind, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

While not performing, Ben continues to give his time to organizations such as Ballet Florida's Board of Directors, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Association, Celebrities for a Drug Free America and Community Mental Health Council. Ben volunteered with the American Red Cross during 9/11, an event that changed his life and the world forever. Ben led ongoing diabetes awareness campaign called "S.T.A.N.D." in partnership with Sanofi-Aventis pharmaceuticals. He continues to speak out for diabetes for Novo Nordisk, whose purpose is to eradicate diabetes in our lifetimes. For his humanitarian contributions, he has received a number of awards including Israel's Cultural and Humanitarian Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, an Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award, and a Victory Award. He has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Arizona, Emerson College, St. Francis College, and Columbia College in Chicago. In 2001, Medgar Evers College created the Ben Vereen Scholarship for the Performing Arts, and in 2004, he received an Achievement in Excellence Award from his alma mater, the High School of the Performing Arts. Recently, Ben led the American Athletes into the LA Coliseum for The Special Olympics, followed by participating in Producer Nigel Lythgoe's event in Beverly Hills introducing dance as a competition for the first time in the history of the Special Olympics. At the DIZZY FEET FOUNDATION GALA, Ben presented an award to George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn the stars of WEST SIDE STORY.

In February of 2011, Ben released his CD Steppin' Out Live with Ben Vereen and staged a triumphant return to Broadway with his concert "Ben Vereen ON BROADWAY AT TOWN HALL". On January 30th, 2012, Ben was inducted in to The Theatre Hall of Fame. He performed for 100,000 people at the Washington Monument on July 4th and in August, Ben was inducted into The Dance Hall of Fame. Ben also received the Broadwayworld.com 2012 Cabaret Award BEST CELEBRITY MALE VOCALIST for his dazzling 2 week run at the New York City's latest music venue 54 Below. In May of 2013, Ben received his honorary degree from the LaGuardia School of Performing Arts.

Ben Vereen's memorable television roles that have stood the test of time and include Chicken George in ROOTS and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style. Other television credits include How I Met Your Mother, Grey's Anatomy (Prism Award), Hot in Cleveland, NCIS, House of Payne, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, OZ, Star Trek - The Next Generation, The Jamie Fox Show, And Accidental Friendship (NAACP IMAGE AWARD) Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Silk Stockings, Webster, and J.J. Starbuck and Booker, Anne Rice's Feast of All Saints, Intruders They Are Among Us (Emmy nomination), Faerie Tale Theatre's Puss N' Boots with Gregory Hines, The Jesse Owens Story, Ellis Island (Golden Globe Nomination), Lost in London, Salute to Liberty Special. Tenspeed and Brownshoe, The Muppet Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Pippen: His Life and Times, The Love Boat, 21 and Wake Up, SCTV, The Magic of David Copperfield, Jenny's Song, The Nanny, Touched by an Angel, Lois and Clark, Promised Land, and You Write the Songs. His television special Ben Vereen: His Roots received Seven Emmy Awards. Not forgetting his younger audiences, Ben released a number of well-received children's Sing-Along musical video. He also provided voice-overs for the show Wonder Pets for Nickelodeon was featured in Faerie Tale Theatre's Puss and Boots, Mother Goose Rock "n" Rhyme, The Kid Who Loved Christmas and played Mayor Ben in Hallmark's Zoobilee Zoo.

For tickets ($75), call the box office at 203-438-5795, or visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org. The Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.


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