Ben Vereen Reflects on His Career Before Playing the Town Hall

Along with the sounds of Sammy — he made it clear that it’s merely Sammy’s music, rather than an impersonation — another key player in the origin of his performance career, choreographer and director Bob Fosse, will have a presence at the Town Hall performance. It was Fosse that gave Vereen his start in the Broadway production of Sweet Charity and later Pippin, which earned him a Tony Award.

Re-creating those famed Fosse moves, however, is no longer an easy task for Vereen — in 1992 he suffered a series of tragic events, including a car accident and stroke. “Doctors said that I should think about another career, but I walked out on a stage ten months later,” Vereen proudly recalled. “I don’t dance like I used to, but I’m moving and I’ll be doing my form of dance at Town Hall… I hit my limitations but I learn to work with what I’ve got.”

With Vereen’s upcoming show celebrating his long career on the stage, it allowed the performer to reflect on the moment that he realized show business was where he belonged. While acting in Broadway’s Jesus Christ Superstar, the Tony Award committee nominated him for the first time. “When I read that envelope saying, ‘You have been nominated by your peers,’ tears came down my face,” he said after a long pause. “That’s when I realized that I was an entertainer, when people out there said, ‘You got something kid.'” And Vereen will celebrate that moment, along with many more from his career, February 18. “It’s really special for me to be up on that stage.”

Image courtesy of Ben Vereen.

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