Welcome to THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As With Your Favorite Broadway Stars. Want to know what hooked them to a career in the theater? Their dream roles? Their Broadway crushes? Read on!
In this week's edition, we caught up with Peter Benson, who is starring as 'Bazzard' in The Mystery of Edwin Drood- currently playing at Studio 54.
What is the first Broadway show you ever saw?
I was born and raised overseas so I didn't see a show on Broadway until I saw A Chorus Line when I moved to New York after college. When I was 12 years old I was in London and saw Ben Vereen in Pippin. I remember him standing center stage and a straw boater came flying out of the wings. He caught it without looking, placed it on his head, slid the brim down low and started to dance. That was it, man! I was hooked.
What is your most unique pre-show ritual?
I always warm up my voice while riding to the theater on my bike. Without fail, pedestrians and drivers feel that they should bellow right along with me - I mean UPS guys in trucks yelling out whatever scale I'm singing - it is it's own mini-musical. Several times a week I endure the "Don't quit your day job" taunt. I once explained to a guy at a light that this was my day job; this was how I made a living. "Well, not much of one I bet," he says. Warming up my voice is never pretty...
What is your most memorable "the show must go on" moment?
I was doing a play on Broadway with an Oscar winning actor. We were to enter together and the first minute and-a-half of the scene the dialogue was mostly between the two of us. I'm waiting in the wings and our cue is approaching and he's not there and I keep thinking he must be on his way. I hear the cue and he's still not there. Terrified, I entered and tried to make sense out of saying both our lines by myself as well as I could remember them. As soon as I finished stumbling through it, he appeared in the doorway of the set, looking as though he had been ripped out of a good nap, and we simply started again with me cleverly adding "as I already said" to each of my lines.
What is the one role you want to play before you die?
King Lear because it will mean that I'm an old man and still at it.
Who is your Broadway crush?
Bernadette Peters, Joyce Chittick, Betsy Wolfe ...and my wife (we live on Broadway).
Where can people stalk you online?
You won't find me online.