BWW Interview: Ben Vereen Is STEPPIN' OUT At Myron's Cabaret Jazz At The Smith Center
Ben Vereen is one of those entertainers who continue to dazzle, delight, and deliver amazing performances, whether on television, movies, or stage. The Tony Award winner and Golden Globe and Emmy nominee beloved icon will return to Las Vegas in his limited, three-day engagement of Steppin' Out with Ben Vereen at The Smith Center Sept. 20-22.
In his latest show, Vereen will perform contemporary and classic melodies showcasing his powerful vocals, range, and charisma, including "Wait for It" from Hamilton, "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, and standards recorded in the golden mid-century age.
In January 2016, Vereen signed with Americans for the Arts, the largest advocacy group of the Arts in the US. His 40-year career spans Broadway, film, and television, along with being inducted into both the Theater Hall of Fame and the Dance Hall of Fame. BroadwayWorld.com spoke with Ben about his upcoming show and his future plans.
What can the audience expect from your show?
Ben Vereen: I will be giving a taste of Broadway, my life, and some beautiful stories of experiences shared over the years. I have been given so many opportunities over the years, and this has shaped my life. There will be laughter about my journey, the people I have met, and memories from shows I have performed on stage as well as songs that relate to me.
You have recently performed on television in Star and Sneaky Pete. What are some of your upcoming television projects?
Ben Vereen: I loved the shows, and the cast is terrific. I completed an episode of Tales on BET. It's an anthology series taking the lyrics of hip hop's greatest hits and creating a show.
What are you working on in theater?
Ben Vereen: The show I am working on is based on the same ingredients you see in Vegas taking its essence. It will mostly be an autobiographical show. We recently got the rights to develop a Broadway play of the movie The Bucket List.
You also invest in the arts, and recently you testified on Capitol Hill to defend the National Endowment for the Arts. What are your feelings about that?
Ben Vereen: We as a people must band together and hold the line about arts. God invented art, and I believe life itself is an art form. What we do with art is an expression of what we do with our lives. I am a song and dance man; there are painters, writers, and so many ways we express ourselves. When we first wake up, that is the beginning of our art form. We all need to paint on the canvas of life.
Art goes to our very existence, and we need to preserve all of those art forms. I stand up for art, and I encourage others to join me and hold the line, especially for our children.
How has the audience in Las Vegas changed over the years?
Ben Vereen: People are people, and they want to be entertained. I am thankful that Vegas is Vegas. I watched the city grow up. I remember when it was just the Strip. Now over 2 million people are living here with the beautiful Smith Center.
Steppin' Out with Ben Vereen will perform at Myron's Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20 and Sept. 21 and at 3 p.m. on Sept. 22. Tickets are available at The Smith Center Box Office, by calling 702-749-2000, or online at www.thesmithcenter.com.