Ben Vereen (271356)

At the age of 72, African-American treasure, icon, legend, Tony and Drama Desk Award winner Ben Vereen is still going strong. This man has done it all—Broadway, off-Broadway, movies, television and cabaret. And God bless him, he’s still doing multiple projects. He just finished taping on Lee Daniels’ series “Star,” where he will co-star with Queen Latifah and Brandy; he taped guest spot episodes of CBS’s “Magnum P.I.” and is working on two new Broadway projects, “Reflections,” a retrospective on his life and growth in the arts, and “The First Grader,” a story about an elderly man in South Africa who never learned to read but is determined to learn.

Vereen is a household name and beloved by everyone, no matter what race. A singer, dancer and actor, he is the true definition of a triple threat, but most notable about him is his infectiously positive approach to life—his positive energy is so abundant you can’t help but be charged up and inspired when in his presence. Vereen feels blessed to have so many positive things going on in his life and appreciates his loyal fans and, to thank them, will be performing two special Thanksgiving holiday shows Nov. 22, Thanksgiving Day, and Nov. 23 at The Cutting Room, located at 44 E. 32nd St. “Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen” is his tribute to Broadway, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

Vereen, always displaying a bubbly, effervescent demeanor, recently talked about what’s going on with him and his upcoming Thanksgiving shows.

How does he keep going? “I wake in the morning and that’s the beginning of the miracle. I look back and so many of my friends aren’t here anymore. I’m still here, so I say, let’s party. I was glad to make it to 70 and everything after that is gravy. I’m giving thanks to my audience, my friends and fans that stuck by me all these years,” Vereen said. “This show is a tribute to my audiences and the music they’ve allowed me to sing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. There will be songs like ‘A Wonderful World.’ There will be a few surprises. They will get a big bang for their buck. I’m excited.”

With this show being a cabaret show, Vereen shared that the journey in the show can vary. “When you have a show such as mine, a cabaret show, the feeling can vary. I like to go with the flow, it makes it more organic, whereas when you have a book show you, have to stick with the book and use your inner feelings to reach the people,”

he said.

Talking about his new series “Star” with Lee Daniels, he said, “I’m having a ball!” Vereen plays Calvin Brown, Queen Latifah’s father in “Star,” and he’s having fun with Queen Latifah and Brandy.

“I don’t know where this ship is going, but it’s a wonderful ride,” he commented.

How was it to guest star on “Magnum P.I.?” Vereen laughed as he responded, “Hawaii, Honolulu. Call

me again.”

How does Vereen keep up all his energy as a performer? “I love what I do. It seems natural to me,” he replied. Anyone who has seen Vereen perform in any venue can attest to that—performing is just something engrained inside of him.

Vereen is not just about performing; he takes various approaches to the arts to ensure that the next generation has a part in sustaining the arts. To this end, he has the Ben Vereen Foundation, which he is starting in New York. “I have a program called Wellness in the Arts,” he explained. “I worked with kids, I love kids, I worked in juvey with kids teaching them the arts. I created Wellness in the Arts because the money has been cut away from the inner city schools. Kids had to write an essay about obesity and other areas. Five students are picked and they receive $500. Their essays are performed at performing arts schools, where the student interpret them through singing, dance and acting and the students get to see their work performed…To me art is life itself.”

Make plans to go and spend your holiday with the great, the one-and-only Ben Vereen. For ticket information, go to