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Ben Vereen

Award-Winning Entertainer
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Biography

Few entertainers today are as accomplished or versatile as Ben Vereen. His legendary performances transcend time and have been woven into the fabric of this country’s artistic legacy. His first love and passion is and always will be the stage. On Broadway, Ben Vereen has starred in Wicked, Fosse, I’m Not Rappaport, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin, Grind, Jelly’s Last Jam and A Christmas Carol. His role in Pippin garnered him both the prestigious Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for “Best Actor in a Musical.”

Ben has two new TV series airing this season; the new Amazon TV series Sneaky Pete and the new 20th Century Fox show Making History. He starred in the Rocky Horror Picture Show for Twentieth Century Fox. Ben is currently working on his return to Broadway with his new show Triumph of the Spirit.

In January 2016, Ben signed with Americans for the Arts and spoke at the Democratic Convention in July 2016. Ben recently joined fellow Broadway stars including Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel and others, to promote peace and support Hillary Clinton singing "What the World Needs Now is Love" at the Democratic National Convention.

While performing worldwide, Ben’s acting credits continue to give us memorable roles that stand the test of time. Ben’s television guest appearances include How I Met Your Mother, Grey’s Anatomy (for which he won the Prism Award), Hot in Cleveland (with Betty White), NCIS, House of Payne, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, OZ, Star Trek - The Next Generation, The Jamie Fox Show, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. His own network television shows are Ben Vereen: His Roots (Seven Emmy Awards), Tenspeed and Brownshoe and You Write the Songs.

Ben was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his performance in the Hallmark movie An Accidental Friendship. While filming Idlewild with the award winning group Outkast, Ben also served as the acting coach for both Andre 3000 and Big Boy. In addition, Ben has been coaching the singing sensation Usher both as an entertainer and an actor. In 2004, Ben was nominated for a “Career Achievement Award” by the Le Prix International Film Star Awards Organization.

For over 40 years, Ben has showcased his versatility and creativity, performing countless one-man shows in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. He was the first simultaneous winner of the “Entertainer of the Year,” “Rising Star,” and “Song and Dance Star” awards from the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). He also earned a coveted spot in the Casino Legends Hall of Fame.

The lecture circuit has become an integral part of Ben’s career, as he has become one of the Nations’ most requested speakers among audiences of all ages. His strong sense of social consciousness has enabled him to reach out to his audiences and convey to them a deep feeling of understanding. His topics range from overcoming adversity, arts in education, Black history, motivational topics, Broadway lecture with song, recovery through physical and occupational therapy and the importance of continuing education - to name a few.

In 1989, he spearheaded his own organization, “Celebrities for a Drug Free America,” which raised money for drug rehabilitation centers, educational programs and inner city community-based projects. For his humanitarian contributions, he has received a number of awards including the 2004 Community Mental Health Council Lifeline Celebration Achievement Award, Israel's Cultural and Humanitarian Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, an Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award and a Victory Award.

Ben has had the honor of performing at the Inaugural Ball for President Obama, being inducted in to The Theatre Hall of Fame and receiving the Broadwayworld.com 2012 Cabaret Award Best Celebrity Male Vocalist.

Ben has given back to the community by founding the “Ben Vereen Awards” to honor the very best of high school musical theater talent in San Diego. He also led the American Athletes into the LA Coliseum for The Special Olympics, and participated 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. Ben is proud to announce the newly formed organization “Wellness Through the Arts”, benefiting young people across America.

Topics

Steppin' Out Live with Ben Vereen

Ben Vereen is currently touring his one man show, Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen, dazzling audiences throughout the United States. Ben’s show is a unique blend of artistry, combining a tribute to Broadway, Frank Sinatra, and a very special tribute to Sammy Davis Jr. Featuring songs such as “Defying Gravity,” “Mr. Bojangles,” “For Good” from Wicked and “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen is a contemporary and timeless journey through the Broadway songbook. Ben promises an evening of song and dance, filled with entertainment and laughter, stories and inspiration!

Learning to Live Again: Ben's Story of Rehabilitation

After suffering an accident so severe that it nearly took his life, entertainer Ben Vereen required intense physical and occupational therapy to learn to walk, talk, sing, and even live again. In an inspiring and motivating presentation, Vereen share his personal journey and the importance of the rehabilitation he received. He imparts a message of hope, conveying to audiences that, without the help of a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, and physical and occupational therapists, he would not be performing today – or living his life to the fullest.

Special Topics for Black History Month

  • From There to Now: African Americans in the Civil War. Actor and keynote speaker Ben Vereen discusses the roles African Americans played in the Civil War, where these soldiers came from, and how they managed to survive – not only in the army, but as black Americans in a tumultuous time.
  • Black History in Youth: Vereen explores the past and the present, discussing the youth of the black history movement.
  • Holding On to Our Heritage: In schools today there is a lack of black history, claims Ben Vereen. Join him as he poses the question, "How do we hold on to our heritage?"
  • Who Are We Now? Vereen opens up an honest dialogue, asking, "How did we go from being 'colored' to being a 'negro' to being 'black' to being 'African American'?"
  • From Roots to Now: Ben Vereen, who played "Chicken George" in the iconic miniseries Roots, talks about history through the lens of shooting Roots as well as through the scope of where black history is today.

Overcoming Adversity

Diabetes: Taking Control & Living Your Life

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