This month’s artist feature is the remarkable and talented song-writer, guitarist, singer and actor Benjamin Scheuer. I have known Ben for more than a decade and seen this wonderful musician grow into the amazing talent that he is now.
Ben is a foodie. It is guaranteed that if Ben hosts a party, there will be incredible food to be had. When Ben came to my child’s first birthday party I was in disbelief watching Ben continuously eating the fish tacos I had set out that day. I take that as a compliment.
Ben has a remarkable story and it feels challenging to try and tell it in a few paragraphs.
Originally from Westchester, NY Ben settled himself in NYC in 2005 and by then had already recorded with his bands, The Capability and Call the Cops. Soon there after he recorded with his other band Escapist Papers (2006) and collaborated with fellow songwriter and bassist Geoff Kraly in Lady Clown (2007).
In 2007 Ben wrote an original musical with librettist Zoe Samuel called “Jihad!: The Musical” that premiered at the Fringe Festival in Glasgow followed by the premiere in London in 2010. Also, in that summer, Ben was invited to be part of the Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Workshop. Things were going strong and Ben was continuing his artistic pursuits until the unexpected happened. In 2011 Ben was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. He underwent six months of chemotherapy and as of now I am so happy to say, is cancer free. During and after cancer treatment Ben began to record his sophomore recording with Escapist Papers called “The Bridge”. A video was made for the track, “The Lion” (which yours truly sang additional vocals for) has received four international awards for best video. You can view this amazing video here.
Ben was invited to be part of Lincoln Center’s “Songbook Series” (Broadway’s Future) in January 2012. During this experience Ben realized that a story needed to be told. In the following year, Ben was invited to the Goodspeed Theater and there he met director Sean Daniels. Sean and Ben began to develop Ben’s storybook and has now become the musical called “The Lion.”
Ben performed the early draft of “The Lion” (which at the time was still called, “The Bridge”) at the Fringe Festival in 2013 and received the Best Lyrics award for “The Bridge” and in the same year was awarded the ASCAP Foundation’s Cole Porter Award for Song Writing. (On top of being a great song writer, Ben is an incredibly generous individual; he donated the funds from his award to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society).
You can see Ben perform his new musical “The Lion” at the Manhattan Theater Club now until July 13th. Tickets are only $30 and I urge all of you to see this moving and wonderful performance. During cancer treatments, photographer Riya Lerner did a weekly documentation of Ben’s journey along with Ben’s journal entries and created a book with graphic designer, Lia Strasser called “Between Two Spaces” which will be available at www.BetweenTwoSpaces.com. All sales will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Benjamin Scheuer is earnest, charming, fun loving person whose generosity is moving and humbling. He is a musical force to be reckoned with and I am so honored to call him a colleague and friend. Go see The Lion everyone. You will not be disappointed.