Ben Cameron was part of the original Wicked cast, but these days he is best know as Ben D, creator and host of Broadway Sessions. His latest project is Dance Captain Dance Attack, a new series on BroadwayWorld.com. Ben’s vibrant and quirky personality is irresistible, and we had a great time chatting with him about his career.
Joy: What was your first exposure to musical theater and what made you want to pursue a career in it?
Ben: I grew up in Orem, Utah to a nice Mormon family. I was in a children’s choir when I was like eight years old and through that, I got information about a community theatre production of a world premiere musical called the Lord Fauntleroy. I auditioned and I got the lead part at the Lehigh Community Theatre and that was it. It was such an innate part of me, from that point on I was in, like, 20 community theatre productions.
J: What was your favorite show that you did as a kid?
B: Well, the Lord Fauntleroy with the world premiere was always very special. I did a musical version of The Hobbit and I was Gollum. Gollum sang a hoedown song and it went like this: “Fiddle, diddle, Gollum hissed, riddle, riddle, riddle me this” ga, ga, ga. So that was special and I got to wear a nice silver unitard for that one and some pointy Spock ears.
J: Like they do in Cats.
B: I just saw Cats the other day.
J: Did you like it?
B: I loved it and I didn’t know what to feel or think about it, but I was so blown away by the talent. Because when Cats first came out and even when I was dancing – the level is so much higher. Like these are the kids who are on So You Think You Can Dance but they all sing great.
J: What’s your favorite Broadway show?
B: Oh, this is too hard. I love things. I am one of those people that likes everything. I just saw The Color Purple a couple of days ago too with Cynthia [Erivo] and Heather [Headley] together and I feel like was blessed to see a once-in-a-lifetime special moment happen on stage.
I did Aida with Heather years ago and I remembered then what that power is. She is a volcano.
J: When Cynthia sings “I Am Here” –
B: Oh, forget it. Standing ovation.
J: Every night.
B: Every night standing ovation. It’s nuts.
J: I think it’s pretty cool.
B: That was one of the most beautiful experiences I have had in the theater and I was by myself for that. I like going to shows by myself.
J: Who were your role models growing, and were there any teachers who made an impression on you?
B: Number one role model theatrically in my life, Terrence Mann. I was obsessed with Terrence Mann. When I was in junior high school, we had to write a paper on who our hero was. I wrote a three-page essay about Terrence Mann and all of his shows. I listened to my Beauty and the Beast soundtrack and my Les Mis soundtrack and my Assassins soundtrack and I loved Terrence Mann. And so one of the coolest moments I ever had in Broadway Sessions – I have friends who knew my feelings about Terrence Mann. We had Pippin night at Broadway Sessions –
J: And he came?
B: Yes and I didn’t know what was going on,