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Posts Tagged ‘“Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party”’

Ben Roberts is another performer who’s on the rise and crossing various genres from theatre to film to music. Off-Broadway and regionally, Ben has delighted audiences in “Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party,” “Walking Down Broadway,” “6 Degrees of Separation,” and “Grapes of Wrath” (Syracuse Stage). His film and television credits include “North Palm Wrestling” on MTV, “New York,” “A Born Comedian,” “A Very Serious Person,” and “Apart.” When Ben is not acting, he fronts a band called The Benjees, currently on tour:

Ocotber 30, 10pm, Crystal Blue Hall, Ozone Park, NY

November 14, 1pm, The Jungle Room, Lebanon, NY

November 23, 9pm, Crash Mansion, New York, NY

December 12, 6pm, Via Emilia, New York, NY ($20 all you can eat appetizer and beer)

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I’m not sure really. I used to get in trouble when I acted up in class when I was a kid. Having a place to do that meant I wouldn’t get in trouble and I could still be silly and act up.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Depends on the day and what I’ve been doing the past few days. More sleep for me usually means a higher and fuller range. I haven’t been sleeping much.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? There are so many people that I haven’t worked with…I guess I would say Clint Eastwood. I would like to be in one of his films.

4. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I cut my own hair. And most of my friends hair, in exchange for beer or wine.

5. Favorite way to stay in shape? I like working out, (circuit training) but playing music w/ my band is probably number one. Usually I’m soaking wet after our shows.

6. Boxers or Briefs? Neither and both. I like boxer-briefs.

7. Favorite item off the $1 menu? Is ice cream on the dollar menu? With fudge and nuts.

8. Favorite meal? Tough one. Seared salmon with avocado salsa, and sauteed spinach with pine nuts and raisins on the side.

9. Favorite website? www.myspace.com/thebenjees

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? When I was growing up there was a small chalkboard up in one of my friend’s houses. It simply said “Do your best” and was underlined. Every time I went there I saw it and asked myself if I had been doing that or not. Had I been giving it my all? I always liked the simplicity of the sign and advice.

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? I dont really have days off. I am always doing something. But would say doing nothing sounds like a great way to spend a day off.  Just sitting on a porch somewhere, in the sun or the rain, doing absolutely nothing.

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Arnie Burton is an award winning actor with impeccable comedic timing! He starred in “The 39 Steps” on Broadway and was most recently seen in the Off-Broadway hit “The Tempermentals” for which he won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. His other New York credits include: “Mere Mortals” (Primary Stages, J. Houseman Theater), “The Last Sunday in June (Rattlestick, Century Theater), “The Jew of Malta/The Merchant of Venice” (Theater for a New Audience), and “The Venetian Twins,”and “The Cherry Orchard” (Pearl Theater). Arnie delighted London audiences in “The Merchant of Venice” (Royal Shakespeare Company), while regional audiences have seen him in productions of “The Seagull” and “The Taming of the Shrew” (Old Globe), “All in the Timing” (Geffen Playhouse), and “I Am My Own Wife” (St. Louis Rep) where Arnie won the Kevin Kline Award for Best Actor. Film and television viewers will recognize Arnie from “Frasier,” “Hope & Faith,” “L&O,” “Caroline in the City,” “White Collar,” “Life on Mars,” “Six Degrees,” “Sister, Sister,” “The Invention of Lying,” “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee,” “Game 6,” and “Igby Goes Down.” Currently, Arnie can be seen dancing up a storm in the Off-Broadway show “Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party” at Theatre Row  (410 West 42nd Street, NYC 10036) through September 5.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Mr. Magoo. When I saw Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol in which Magoo was a big Broadway star doing his hit version of A Christmas Carol. I was 4 and living in Idaho but from then on I wanted to go to Broadway.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Living: Vanessa Redgrave  Dead: Elia Kazan

3. What has been your most embarrassing on-stage experience? I forgot my lines during a speech in “The 39 Steps.” Went totally blank. I just kept me mouth moving, and started channeling dialogue from the movie of “39 Steps” that I didn’t even know I knew.

4. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can put my fist in my mouth.

5. Favorite way to stay in shape? Yoga, Gym, walking everywhere in NYC.

6. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs.

7. Favorite way to spend your day off? Easy, a burger at 5 Guys and sitting by the river.

8. Books or Magazines? Both, I always have to have a book going and I love my New Yorker and New York Magazine.

9. Favorite website? Cnn.com, Playbill.com, Dailybeast.com

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman (for reasons known only to him).

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Do you have any rituals that you must do before a show? How do you decompress after a show? I have to walk the stage. I hate going onstage without having trod the boards.

12. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Find the thing you dislike about yourself and embrace it. That is the thing that makes you different.”

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