Having to search for a new Nigel is always a traumatic experience. Imagine our relief, then, when we met Ben Bryant in the fall of 2009! Not only was he perfect for the role, but he appeared to be game to stay for a while. Ten years later, we are deeply grateful that Ben is still part of the trio!
Ben’s first inkling that he was bound for a career in the arts came in 1st grade when he was cast as the prophet Elijah. He learned it was fun to tell a story with a group of like-minded people. But he didn’t really focus on theatre until 9th grade, when he realized he had a natural talent and affinity for acting. “Why not me?”, he thought, and his fate was sealed. Fast forward to college, where he majored in theatre and had the opportunity to play a “dump monkey” in a land fill, courtesy of a play written by one of his professors. This no doubt prepared him well for later roles in his career.
Ben performed at various area theatres, especially Ochre House where he is one of the founding company members. His day job for 13 years was with Undermain Theatre, where he did mostly lighting work. But it wasn’t until Ben met Susan Sargeant (then directing Pegasus Theatre’s Living Black and White shows) that he connected with Pegasus. Ben auditioned for the role of Nigel and his future with the Living Black and White shows was assured! His first show was the January 2010 production of “Death Express!”, set on a train, and we hope his last show will be far into the future.
Ben’s connection with Pegasus is based in part on a mutual appreciation for comedy, for commitment to a gag, for a kind of irreverence for the source material of old movies. Ben loves old styles of comedy, and that has served him well in the Living Black and White series. Ben had a special bond working with Chad Cline as Lt Foster and Kurt Kleinmann as Harry Hunsacker until Kurt turned the role over to Scott Nixon in 2016. When asked what that transition was like, Ben said “It’s like having the quarterback retire.” The adjustment was made easier because of the terrific chemistry the new Harry had with his colleagues!
What does Ben do when not performing? He enjoys music and has wildly eclectic tastes. He plays the ukulele, though we have yet to force him to play at a cast party. And he has aspirations of teaching himself to paint, courtesy of a beginning painter’s kit for landscapes. We await the results with great anticipation.
We are forever grateful to Susan Sargeant for introducing Ben to Pegasus. It’s hard to imagine the Living Black and White shows without him!