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Tuscarawas News Detail

Tony Award-Winning Performer Ben Vereen Visits Kent State University

Posted Sep. 19, 2012

Tony award-winning actor Ben Vereen Kent State University's College of the Arts, in conjunction with The Thomas Schroth Visiting Artist Series, is proud to present the community with two unique opportunities to see Tony award-winning performer Ben Vereen. On Wednesday, Oct. 10, he and his band will perform "Steppin' Out with Ben Vereen" in E. Turner Stump Theatre at 7:30 p.m.  On Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Kent State University Ballroom, The Thomas Schroth Visiting Artist Series continues Vereen's visit to campus with a free, public lecture. The lecture will feature Vereen weaving light conversation and personal experiences in with thoughtful reflections on arts advocacy, overcoming adversity, arts in education, and disabilities in the arts.

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 p.m., Vereen will perform his one-man show "Steppin' Out with Ben Vereen" in the E. Turner Stump Theatre, 1325 Theatre Drive, Kent, Ohio. "Steppin' Out with Ben Vereen" will feature Vereen and his band performing music by such greats as Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra, while also performing some of the most-loved songs of Broadway. Patrons can expect to hear such great songs as "The Lady is a Tramp," "It Was a Very Good Year," and "My Way," "If I Ruled the World," "Ol' Black Magic" and "Mr. Bo Jangles." Vereen's performance also will feature music from such great Broadway shows as "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Cats", and "Hair," and others.

Tickets are $50 gold circle seating, $25 general reserved seating, $20 seniors (60+), $10 students with valid college ID and under 18. Tickets are available for purchase at the new performing arts box office on or after Sept. 10. Tickets can be reserved by phone at 330-672-ARTS (2787), in person or online at The performing arts box office is located in the Roe Green Center for the School of Theatre and Dance in the Music and Speech Center at 1325 Theatre Drive in Kent. The performing arts box office is open Monday through Friday, 12-5 p.m., and will be open one hour prior to the performance. The box office accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, cash and personal checks. Tickets will only be sold at the door, depending on availability.

On Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m., celebrating its 10th anniversary, The Thomas Schroth Visiting Artist Series will present the lecture "Up Close and Personal with Ben Vereen." Celebrated for his upbeat, entertaining nature, Vereen will weave light conversation and personal experiences in with thoughtful reflections on arts advocacy, overcoming adversity, arts in education, and disabilities in the arts. The lecture is free and open to the public and will be in the Kent State University Ballroom in the Kent Student Center at 1075 Risman Drive in Kent. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 330-672-ARTS (2787) or reserving online at, but are not required. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the door. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. A complimentary dessert reception will follow the lecture.

Since 2002, The Thomas Schroth Visiting Artist Series has presented guest artists respected in the fields of theatre, dance, visual arts, music and architecture. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, The Thomas Schroth Visiting Artist Series has brought such noted artists as Tony award-winning artists, composer Stephen Schwartz and actress Alice Ripley; Grammy-winning Emerson String Quartet; postmodern minimalist artist Richard Tuttle; fashion designers Ruben and Isabel Toledo, and internationally acclaimed dance company, Ballet Florida, just to name a few. The Schroth series was established in 2002 by the late Max and Cil Draime of Warren, Ohio, to honor their dear friend, Tom Schroth (1922-1997). A noted regional architect, Schroth designed the Butler Institute of Art's Trumbull museum in Howland, as well as numerous other award-winning projects. Thomas Schroth spent his life in Niles, Ohio, as a prominent architect and inveterate collaborator in the artistic life of the Mahoning Valley and Northeast Ohio. A world traveler, he saw human creativity as a window framing human experience. The Thomas Schroth Visiting Artist Series brings diverse views through that window to the Kent campus and community. The events are always free and open to the public.

Additional Background on Ben Vereen

For more than 40 years, Vereen has showcased his versatility and creativity, by performing countless one-man shows not only in the United States, but also 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 and, most recently, was inducted into The Theatre Hall of Fame whose inductees include such actors as Julie Andrews, Fred Astaire, Henry Fonda, and Bernadette Peters. This past summer 2012, Vereen was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Museum of Dance.

While performing worldwide, Vereen's acting credits continue to give us memorable roles that stand the test of time such as the unforgettable Chicken George in Roots and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong-Chicago Style. His television guest appearances include How I Met Your Mother, Grey's Anatomy (for which he won the Prism Award), House of Payne, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, OZ, Touched By An Angel, Second Noah, New York Undercover, The Nanny, Start Trek - The Next Generation, The Jamie Fox Show, The Promised Land, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Vereen also has had recurring roles in Silk Stalkings, Webster, and J.J. Starbuck and Booker. For Nickelodeon, he provided voice-overs on the show Wonder Pets! Additional credits include: Anne Rice's Feast of All Saints (Showtime), Intruders They are Among Us (Emmy nomination), Zoobilee Zoo, Faerie Tale Theatre's Puss N' Boots with Gregory Hines, The Jesse Owens Story, Ellis Island (Golden Globe nomination), Lost in London, and Salute to Liberty Special. His own network television shows are Ben Vereen: His Roots (Seven Emmy Awards), Tenspeed and Brownshoes and You Write the Songs.

In the early '90s, he released a number of well-received children's Sing-Along musical videos. Last fall, Vereen shot the Disney pilot, Bunheads, co-starring Sutton Foster. Oprah Winfrey celebrated the 35th anniversary of the miniseries Roots with a television special featuring Vereen. He was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his performance in the Hallmark movie An Accidental Friendship. He appears in two recently released features, 21 and a Wake-Up starring Faye Dunaway and Mama, I Want to Sing! in which he co-starred opposite Ciara and Patti LaBelle. While filming Idlewild with the award winning group Outkast, Vereen also served as the acting coach for both Andre 3000 and Big Boy. In addition, Vareen has been coaching the singing sensation Usher both as an entertainer and an actor. He was featured in the movie, On The One - Preaching to the Choir directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. Other film credits inlcude Sweet Charity, All That Jazz, Funny Lady (Golden Globe nomination), Why Do Fools Fall in Love, And Then Came Love starring Vanessa Williams, the animated movies Khumba and Once Upon a Forest, Christmas in Washington and The Painting which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2004, Vareen was nominated for a "Career Achievement Award" by the Le Prix International Film Star Awards Organization. On Jan. 30, 2012, Vareen was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. This summer, the Museum of Dance honored him with a lifetime achievement award.

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Media Contact:
Effie Tsengas,, 330-672-8398

Attention Photo Editors:
Images of Ben Vereen are available by contacting Effie Tsengas.