Ben Cameron has made a niche for himself not just as a Broadway performer, but, as a HOST to many Broadway talents during his fun open mic called Broadway Sessions!
BB: What sparked the creation of Broadway Sessions?
BC: I’ve always been in awe of the Broadway community. These amazingly wild, wacky, fascinating singers actors and dancers at the top of their game. Each one with a story and insights and skill sets that the audience may never get to see see when they take the stage 8 times a week. I wanted to celebrate the people who make Broadway tick, and not in a stuffy “inside the actors studio” way or just a concert..I want to dig into the playful side of the community that you get to see just hanging with friends after the shows. I love Broadway performers, and I love them in bars talking real talk…let’s put THAT on a stage!!!! My friends hanging out and being silly, now everyone can come see that. Taking the “stuffy out of the stuff”.
BB: What is your background as a performer and how did you move in more Hosting/MC’ing?
BC: Like so many of us I started out in community theater. And let’s be honest, it’s never gonna be as fun as it was in community theater. Moved to NYC at 18 (from Utah) and starting auditioning and touring. Made the move to Broadway in the original cast of Footloose in 19 ninety something. ahem. Went on to perform in Aida on Broadway and the original cast of Wicked. Which has been a game changer. Left Wicked after 3.5 years to join the Sweet Charity tour opposite Molly Ringwald and Paige Davis. When I returned from tour i needed a creative outlet and Broadway Sessions was born. After singing and dancing for some many years I discovered this amazing new world that I LOVED. Since then it’s been a snowball affect. I hosted Mostly Sondheim at The Duplex for 5 + years and gone on to host countless benefits, podcasts, competitions, concerts, and special events for BC/EFA, NYMF, BMI/ASCAP to name just a few. Recently made the move to TV, hosting the PBS Masterpiece Classic Downton Abbey New Years Marathon over 4 days on WNET. I just love the people and talking and…well, the talking.
BB: Do you have a day job with your creative endeavors or do they function simultaneously?
BC: Been lucky enough to be able make a living doing creative gigs I enjoy (not that I haven’t poured a drink or served a table here and there). I teach workshops all over the country, choreograph, direct shows and MC talent competitions. Lots of wild and diverse projects that keep me plenty busy (knock wood). Producing Broadway Sessions every week for 7.5 years is a full time job unto itself.
BB: What's your advice to performers about creating their own work/showcases and/or performing ventures?
BC: Get out there and express what is unique and special and different about YOU!!!! Stand on stage and sing as YOU! The more we know about ourselves, the stronger actors and storytellers we can become. There’s no wrong answer when you create your own projects, be fearless. Focus on material that interests you and it will interest others. Fear sucks and stops us from doing a lot of the cool stuff.
BB: How can people get involved and/or watch broadway sessions?
BC: Please come see us every Thursday night at The Laurie Beechman Theater!!! Open mic happens before and after the show sportier every week. And once a month we go all open mic. We’ve created a really special place to network, perform, celebrate and well, drink. You can call ahead for a table 212 695 6909. Portion of the door gets donated to BC/EFA every week. You can also check out our wildly popular YouTube channel and follow us on twitter @bwaysessions and on FB “Broadway Sessions w/ Ben D” and stream us on Broadwayworld.com. We’re always open to hearing from folks at firstname.lastname@example.org. And of course always looking for performers to be part of our “Rising Star” series.
BB: Any last words of advice about broadway, nyc theatre, pursuring peforming or working behind the scenes.
BC: Never forget why we got into this biz in the first place-Cause its FUN! If it stops being fun it’s not worth it. Be a part of everything you can, there’s so much goodness on the stage, behind the scenes and in the rooms where it happens (see what I did there..?) We can’t go wrong supporting and promoting this art form.
Ben Cameron is a sought after writer, director, teacher, performer and host in NYC. He has appeared on Broadway in Wicked (orig cast), Aida and Footloose (orig. cast). He has toured in productions of Sweet Charity opposite Molly Ringwald, State Fair, Fame, Footloose and The Who’s Tommy. Ben is the creator/host of the long running weekly hit, Broadway Sessions, at The Laurie Beechman Theater broadwaysessions.net He hosts and Emcee’s countless theater industry concerts, benefits and events at NYC’s most prestigious venues, teaches master classes across the globe and has written and directed several solo shows for some of NY’s top talent. Ben most recently hosted Masterpiece Classic’s New Years Downton Abbey marathon on PBS. Follow Ben on twitter @BenDoesBroadway and @Bwaysessions, Instagram-BenDoesBroadway. Look for Ben’s upcoming inside look into the the beautiful people of the Broadway community- BroadwayBuddy.nyc. Ben likes most everyone.