Ben Vereen to Discuss blackface Minstrelsy

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[Education: Lecture]

The City College of New York Black Studies Program invites the public to a Black History Month presentation by Broadway legend Ben Vereen 5:30 p.m. Monday, February 27, in Aaron Davis Hall. The event is free and open to the public; however, because space is limited, attendees should RSVP to (212) 650-8117 or (212) 650-5352 to reserve seats.

One of the most sought-out motivational speakers in the United States and a proponent for Black history and the arts and education, Mr. Vereen will discuss blackface minstrelsy and his personal contribution to this controversial theatrical phenomenon.  He will show a screening of his portrayal of Bert Williams, the early 20th Century vaudevillian as part of his presentation.

Mr. Vereen appeared in the groundbreaking television mini-series “Roots” as the unforgettable Chicken George and won a Tony Award for his performance in “Pippin.” He has solidified his place among Broadway royalty with starring roles in such productions as “Wicked,” “Fosse,” “Chicago,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Hair,” “Jelly’s Last Jam,” “Grind,” “A Christmas Carol” and “I’m Not Rappaport.” He also appeared in the McCarter Theatre production of “Fetch Clay, Make Man,” directed by Des McAnuff, who also directed “Jersey Boys.”  Last month, he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.

His film and television credits include: a recurring role on “How I Met Your Mother,” and guest star appearances on “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” along with the Hallmark feature film “Accidental Friendship,” for which he was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Mr. Vereen continues to tour the country with his show, “Stepping Out with Ben Vereen.” Last spring, he released his first CD, “Steppin' Out Live With Ben Vereen.” This coming July, he will appear at the new venue, 54 Below, for two weeks, followed by the Broadway debut of his one man show.

In addition, Mr. Vereen is the spokesperson for Sanofi US, a leading pharmaceutical company and manufacturer of insulin.  Sanofi and Mr. Vereen created a campaign called S.T.A.N.D. --Start Taking Action Now for Diabetes-- campaign that promotes a healthy and active lifestyle while living with diabetes. More information is available on the campaign website.
Aaron Davis Hall is located at W. 135th Street and Convent Avenue on the City College campus in Harlem.

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