Eryn is joined on this episode today with Mr. Benjamin Jay Davis. Ben will be starring as Captain Von Trapp in the new national tour of The Sound of Music coming up this year. This isn’t his first national tour; he has also been in Spamalot as Galahad and Les Mis as Enjolras and the understudy of Marius in which he joined at the age of 22! On Broadway he was in two productions of Les Mis as well, one of those being a revival, as Javert and Enjolras in each of the productions, Marcello in La Boheme (in which he received the 2003 Tony Honor Excellence in Theatre), Tervor in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Mr. Lindquist and the understudy of Count Magnus in A Little Night of Music, and in the original Broadway cast of Violet as the Preacher.
Even with studying brokerage and not having much of a complete university training in performance, Ben was still able to perfect his chops and succeed in the business. He talks about choosing the right path that is for you and knowing what you’re ready for and where your discipline lies. If you know that you have the chops that are really really high and know that you’re discipline level is high, then go get a college degree, but don’t study in musical theatre or at least minor in something else. You must be able to view the world from another side of things than only from the theatre perspective. Get into those classes, audition your butt off, and make sure you have the maturity and the ability to do so.
He also gives a quick tip on choosing audition material and having a go to song. Ben says that you must really know objectively that you can sing the heck out of a song or piece and know that you have a strong connection with the piece. Don’t worry about whether something is overdone or not, if you can do it well, don’t be afraid to do it!
Ben always tells people to be well rounded and stretch yourself around things that you may not like and learn to like it. Constantly expand your view on the world and it will give you a foundation in the career.
In This Episode:
2:28- You were watching the Tony’s and were so moved by the acceptance speeches and said to yourself, “I think I will go be an actor…?”
3:38- How long did it take you from watching the Tony’s to going on the road for Les Mis?
4:37- Regarding Les Mis, you have such a crazy surreal audition story where you are doing a vocal callback over a speaker phone…can you share that with us?
6:32- Did you have vocal training at a young age?
9:02- I heard an actor from Jesus Christ Superstar say one time that most of those who get lead roles on Broadway typically grow out of the ensembles. Given that, actors must be able to dance very well…because if you can’t dance well, you will never make it in the ensemble, let along get a lead role. Do you think this is somewhat true?
10:27- Can you discuss why as a quick instructional to us who dream of being on the Broadway stage regarding audition song choices?
11:58- Do you continue to receive acting, vocal and dance-ish training?
13:03- Now, with all of your experience…do you think it is important to go to University and/or train in programs for the performing arts…investing that additional 4 years versus just start auditioning for jobs and going for it?
15:58- How would an actor prepare for all the genres of acting?
16:46- How did you get started in Film/TV from the Broadway stage?
17:30- What differences have you found in performing for Film/TV versus the Broadway stage?
18:35- Should an aspiring actor put all their eggs in one basket?
19:40- What is the difference between working in a show that has been established versus a show that is brand new?
20:57- What is the difference between a concert show versus a Broadway show?
22:12- What advice would you give to young aspiring actors (or their parents) in reaching their goals in acting and potentially being on Broadway?
23:57- What is your favorite coffee and what is your favorite coffee place in NYC?