Ben Vereen earned a Tony Award in the 1972 musical Pippin. He starred as the show’s chorus, the Leading Player, welcoming the audience to an “anecdotic revue.” He sang that Steven Schwartz song, “Magic To Do,” and was anecdotal about his extraordinary life in song and dance, on a recent Singers Unlimited.
We talked about his performing in three turn-of-the-70’s shows that changed musical styles, theatrical stagecraft, political content, and greatly influenced a younger audience on Broadway: Pippin, Hair, and Jesus Christ Superstar. We also remembered him playing Chicken George on the epochal TV series Roots.
Ben Vereen performs April 4 through 7 with members of the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. And he sang songs among the stories, with pianist Desmond Scaffe, in the WBGO performance studio. Here is his version of "What a Wonderful World."
And here he is performing "Everything Must Change."
Audio Mix and Video Edit: Corey Goldberg
Videography: Chris Tobin