The Time Ben Vereen Teed Off Andrew Lloyd Webber

Categories: Nightlife

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I caught Tony winner Ben Vereen's opening at 54 Below last night, where he was rivetingly entertaining, bringing fresh life to standards while giving about 175% on every syllable.

And he told a few fascinating anecdotes too.

Like how, when he tried out for Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar way back in the '70s, a man jumped onstage and said he'd play the piano accompaniment.

That was fine, until the man hit a chord Vereen didn't recognize in the least.

"That's not the song," said Vereen, admonishingly.

"Yes it is," noted the accompanist, who seemed pretty sure of what he was saying.

He turned out to be Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Whoopsy!

"He didn't talk to me for 10 years after that," said Vereen, laughing. "But now we're friends.

"But why didn't he call me to play Phantom?" he wondered.

"The guy wears a mask. Who's gonna know?"

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Marco
Marco

Saw him dancing in funny lady with streisand last night. He's amazing. Don't hate, people!!!

FredsterNYC©
FredsterNYC©

I saw his opening in Fosse and he was fantastic although the man has a huge ego. Why didn't he get called to play Phantom? Because he never has had the vocal chops for it. I know it has nothing to do with race as he hired Robert Guillaume to replace Michael Crawford in the LA company.

bitchtrollfromhell
bitchtrollfromhell

I'm not hating, I just think he's insufferable in the same way Sammy Davis, Jr. was.  I actually liked Clifton Davis "The Uptown Downtown Show" w/Melba Moore much better!

latenitebump
latenitebump

stop hatin'! this is america. we are a drug culture! get over it, mary poppins!

pozzguy
pozzguy

I heard how great Ben Vereen was in Pippin, so I bought tickets and took the train in from Ct., and he wasn't in the show.  An understudy went on in his place.  I went a second time to see the show, and the same thing happened lol.  Never got to see him when he was young and at his best. Happy to know that he's still going strong!

BetteD
BetteD

Well, what WAS the song?  Ben killed in Pippin and his recovery story is very inspiring -- you go guy!

Winston
Winston

Ben really puts out in his show. he's recovered from a 1992 accident, after which they said he'd never walk again. But he still dazzles.

Loins
Loins

Great story!

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