Many would call Ben Vereen the quintessential song and dance man. He won a Tony Award for “Pippin” and a Tony nomination for playing Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” In 2005, he played the Wizard of Oz in “Wicked” on Broadway. As a live performer, he is thrilling.
Vereen was classically trained in dance, studying with Martha Graham, Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine. In 1992, he suffered a near-fatal car accident, with injuries including a broken leg. But he rebounded and, in 1995, he performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The News marveled on that occasion that he was in top form: “The flashy Vereen didn’t sit still for a second. Doffing his cobalt-blue jacket, he swaggered about the stage, shook his hips, and rocked back and forth on his feet. His voice ranged from a flutter to a bellow. His energy was boundless.”
A Ben Vereen performance in Buffalo is a rarity. His appearance at 8 p.m. Saturday in Kleinhans Music Hall gains extra excitement because, again, he is performing with the BPO. Admission is $34.50-$85.50. For more information, call 885-5000.
– Mary Kunz Goldman