Few entertainers today are as accomplished or versatile as Ben Vereen. His legendary performances transcend time and have become woven into the fabric of this country’s artistic legacy. His electrifying success is the result of rare talent, superb mastery and strong discipline. His first love and passion is and always will be the stage. “The theatre was my first training ground. It taught me discipline, dedication and appreciation of hard work and values that will stay with me a lifetime. The stage sharpens the creative instrument and encourages you to go deeper inside and try new things.” states Vereen.
The lecture circuit has become an integral part of Vereen’s career; as he has become one of the Nations’ most requested speakers among audiences of all ages. His strong sense of social consciousness has enabled him to reach out to his audiences and convey to them a deep feeling of understanding. His topics range from overcoming adversity, arts in education, Black history, motivational topics, recovery through physical and occupational therapy, and the importance of continuing education – to name a few.
Vereen’s gift of time has benefited many organizations. He has served on Ballet Florida’s Board of Directors, The American Red Cross and The American Diabetes Association. In addition, he has served as chairman of several renowned organizations including The American Heart Association and the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Association. In 1989, he spearheaded his own organization “Celebrities for a Drug Free America”; which raised more than $300,000 for drug rehabilitation centers, educational programs and inner city community-based projects. The Community Mental Health Council awarded Ben with their 2004 Lifeline Celebration Achievement Award.
For his humanitarian contributions, he has received a number of awards including Israel’s Cultural and Humanitarian Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, an Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award and a Victory Award. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Arizona, Emerson College, St. Francis College, and Columbia College in Chicago. In 2001, Medgar Evers College created the Ben Vereen Scholarship for the Performing Arts and in 2004 he received an Achievement in Excellence Award from his almamater, the High School of the Performing Arts. He serves, or has served, on the boards of Ballet Florida, American Red Cross, American Heart Association and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Association.
In June of 2007, he celebrated Eartha Kitt’s 80th birthday in concert at Carnegie Hall to multiple standing ovations. Three months later, he honored Martin Luther King Jr. in The Dream Concert at Radio City Music Hall and presented the Outstanding Mini-series award for the 2007 Emmy Awards. For Nickelodeon, Ben provided voice-overs on the show Wonder Pets! Recently, Ben guest starred on ABC’s hit primetime drama Grey’s Anatomy, and The View, as well as NBC’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He is currently appearing on Lifetime’s Your Mama Don’t Dance.
Best known for his magnetic and charismatic performances on Broadway and television, Ben is also much in demand as a speaker. His topics are vast, being the consummate entertainer, Ben is comfortable speaking on a variety of motivational and educational themes and always encourages a question and answer interactive session:
• Overcoming Adversity
• Inspiring You to Be All That You Are
• The Arts & Education