Goodspeed's Terris Theatre hosts 'Hi, My Name is Ben'

Get the weekly rundown
Sign up to receive THE FUN never stops!, our weekly A&E newsletter

Centering a musical on a man who was mute for decades might seem impossible, but that was the challenge for Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie in creating “Hi, My Name is Ben.”

The inspiration was an article they read in the New York Times in 2016 about a man who had lost his voice after surgery. Bernhardt Wichmann III lived in New York City, and he used a notepad to write messages to people. In their writers' notes about the show, Gilmour and McKenzie say that Ben ended up "turning a neighborhood of strangers into a community of friends. His story is a modern-day fairytale about hope, friendship, and grief, before finally encountering a miracle.” It’s an inspirational story with a folk-infused score.

Gilmour and McKenzie worked on the musical while in residence at the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed in 2017.

Now, they are back at Goodspeed to watch as their show is developed and staged at Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre in Chester.

Joel Rooks, who has been on Broadway, plays Ben, while Adam Kaplan plays Young Ben. The production is directed by Andrew Panton, who is artistic director and joint chief-executive of Dundee Rep Theatre in Scotland, where “Hi, My Name is Ben” was previously performed.

As for figuring out the central challenge of the show, Gilmour and McKenzie write that "through the use of music, projection and physical interaction, we began to create a language that allowed Ben to communicate."

“Hi, My Name is Ben,” Terris Theatre, North Main St., Chester; opens Friday and runs through June 9; 2 and 7:30 p.m. wed., 7:30 p.m. Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri., 3 and 8 p.m. Sat., and 2 and 6:30 p.m. Sun.; tickets start at $49; (860) 873-8668,



Loading comments...
Hide Comments

Stories that may interest you

Lynyrd Skynyrd's final tour stops at Sun Arena Friday

Who's that guy front and center with founding guitarist Gary Rossington at the Lynyrd Skynyrd show? Why, it's Death! Whoops, not so fast. That's just lead guitarist Ricky Medlocke, looking as old as I feel. But Death is never far away in the classic rock biz these days. Hell,...

Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen to shred The Kate Friday

I once applied for a job with Swedish shred-guitar warlock Yngwie Malmsteen — and, by the way, that's Swedish for "Hector Tarver." Of course it's not! It's Swedish for, ah, Yngwie, which is pronounced "Ing-vay," and Malmsteen is like it's...

Anderson .Paak hits Sun Arena Thursday

If you're a computer, and the brainiacs who manufactured you have programmed auto-spell or that intuitive algorithm that makes you provide the next word before the human can type it — even if that's not the word the human wanted — you were probably happier when there...

Jonatha Brooke sings at The Kate Thursday

Jonatha Brooke is like a music machine where the on/off switch broke and tunes just keep pouring out. That wouldn't work so well with Bret Michaels but, with Brooke, it's a treasure trove that keeps on giving. The Fountain of Brooke has produced over a dozen albums, soundtrack tunes for...