By Joanie Cox-Henry
Perhaps the wonder of childhood can last forever. Peter Pan once taught us that with a little bit of pixie dust and a lot of faith, anything can happen. “Finding Neverland” is the musical production based on that magic and tells the extraordinary tale of how Peter Pan came to be. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers and their enchanting widowed mother and then finds the inspiration to pen the tale of a lifetime. Actor Ben Krieger, who is from Palm Beach Gardens, is currently on tour with Finding Neverland. The 12-year-old entertainer who has a hit YouTube Channel singing and playing ukulele covers of hit songs by Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran, is dazzling audiences across America as Peter Llewelyn Davies.
1. Growing up in Palm Beach Gardens, when did you first fall in love with theater and do you remember what the first production you saw was?
“I first fell in love with theater during the first show I did, which was ironically “Peter Pan.” I did Peter Pan at a theater in Stuart, Florida, called ‘Starstruck.’ Shortly after, I went and saw a few Broadway shows in New York and the first show I saw was ‘Wicked.’”
2. You have already been on national tours for “Pippin” and “The Sound of Music.” What was the best part of being on your first national tour?
“The best part of being on a first national tour is seeing all the new cities and getting to do what I love every night.”
3. I read that in your free time you enjoy playing Minecraft and watching Netflix. What shows or movies are you currently obsessed with?
“Recently, I haven’t seen many shows or movies. The past few months I have been watching ‘Jimmy Fallon,’ ‘Ellen,’ and other YouTubers I like. But, I am also reading the Narnia series and I am really enjoying that.”
4. What advice do you have for other kids your age who dream of acting on stage?
“My advice for other kids pursuing acting is that you should never stop pursuing it. If performing is what you love to do than do all you can to pursue it. Good teachers and coaches help… and seeing lots of shows too.”
5. How did you prepare to play Peter in “Finding Neverland” and what do you hope audiences take away from the show?
“To prepare for this role I had to practice all the different emotions Peter has because, for this role specifically, I have to be happy for some of the show, then devastated, then confused, and so on. But it’s really fun. I also love playing George once/week because he has a little more fun and a little less pressure and gets to play the uke! I love the uke. I have a YouTube channel of uke covers.”
“Finding Neverland” is coming to The Broward Center for the Performing Arts June 13 – 25, 2017. Ticketsare available at the Broward Center AutoNation Box Office, 201 S.W. Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33312, Browardcenter.org or call 954-462-0222.
For more tour and casting information: www.FindingNeverlandTheMusical.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FindingNeverlandTheMusical