Benjamin Velez

"Borderline" at the Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellows Showcase

I had a blast presenting material from Borderline at the DGF Fellows Showcase at the Signature Theater! Aryanna and I had a wonderful experience developing Borderline in the Fellows Program over the last year under the guidance of Michael Korie, Larry O’Keefe, and Allison Gold. It was a thrill to see the work presented by our other fellows, such a phenomenal showcase of talent.

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Special thanks to Associate Director Signe V. Harriday, Director Candis C. Jones and Music Director Josh Kight, not to mention Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty who created the program in the first place!

You can check out more pictures from the event on Lia Chang’s site or on BroadwayWorld!

1st Row: Michael Korie, Benjamin Velez, Jay Adana, Kit Yan. 2nd Row: Michael Korie, Charles Gershman, Melissa Li, Ericka Dickerson-Despenza, Aryanna Garber, Nambi E. Kelley, Zeniba Now, Rae Binstock, Zack Zadek, Mathilde Dratwa, Laurence O’Keefe. Photo by Lia Chang

1st Row: Michael Korie, Benjamin Velez, Jay Adana, Kit Yan. 2nd Row: Michael Korie, Charles Gershman, Melissa Li, Ericka Dickerson-Despenza, Aryanna Garber, Nambi E. Kelley, Zeniba Now, Rae Binstock, Zack Zadek, Mathilde Dratwa, Laurence O’Keefe. Photo by Lia Chang

Borderline selected for 2018 Weston New Musical Award!

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I'm honored to share that Borderline has been selected as the 2018 recipient for the Weston Playhouse New Musical Award! Aryanna and I are incredibly excited to get to showcase music and book from the show at two concerts up in Weston and one in NYC.

We're lucky to have an incredible team helping us bring these concerts to life!

Weston Associate Artistic Director Michael Berresse will direct the project with Music Director Daniel Green. The cast includes Margo Seibert (Boardwalk Empire, Broadway’s ROCKY) as Anna, Derrick Baskin (25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, MEMPHIS), Stephen Bogardus (BRIGHT STAR, WHITE CHRISTMAS), Leo Ash Evens (SCHOOL OF ROCK), and Katie Thompson (City Center’s PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES).

Check out their website for details!

NAMT Cabaret 2017!

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I was lucky to be a part of the recent NAMT Conference (National Alliance for Musical Theater) as part of a mid-day cabaret where Katie Hathaway and I presented 4 songs from Afterland and Starblasters alongside our infinitely talented cohorts, Ben Moss and Emily Skeggs!

Video coming soon, but enjoy this adorable picture of the four of us next to our billing in the meantime!

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Thank You Sundance & UCROSS!

I had an incredible three weeks at the UCROSS foundation thanks to Sundance and met a group of inspiring artists while getting a lot done on my new Einstein musical. Thank you to Mame Hunt, and Philip Himberg for their wisdom! Here's the gang all together:

From left to right, Philip Himberg, Benjamin Velez, Billy Porter, Jumana Al-Yasiri, Mame Hunt, Kamal Khalladi, Kurt Carr, Theresa Rebeck and Leah Nanako Winkler

From left to right, Philip Himberg, Benjamin Velez, Billy Porter, Jumana Al-Yasiri, Mame Hunt, Kamal Khalladi, Kurt Carr, Theresa Rebeck and Leah Nanako Winkler

"Prom Was a Promise" performed at the BMI Smoker!

I was honored to have "Prom Was a Promise" featured at the latest BMI Smoker concert November 17th, 2016! Thanks to David Gardos, Emily Kaplan, Joey Goldberg, Molly Heller, and of course Katie Hathaway for bringing it to life!

Check out the video below and listen to the demo along with other songs from Starblasters here.


STAR BLASTERS follows 5 friends in their late twenties who are spending the summer working at the same local theme park where they spent their summers in high school. Neil has just returned to work at the park for the first time since leaving for college and is immediately confronted by his ten-year-old feud with his ex-concessions colleague and former best friend, Freddie. Neil and Freddie were inseparable growing up, but after Senior Prom, the two stopped speaking and haven’t spoken since. What was all the bad blood about? Listen as each shares their side of the story…
 

New 15-Minute Musical "Anyone But Gio" with 4@15

I'm excited to partner up again with 4@15, this time working with students from the University of California, Irvine. Written with the talented Tim Duncheon in the course of a week, it's been a whirlwind and a blast to get this piece up so quickly.

A satire of the current republican primary, we couldn't have timed it better seeing as the New York Primary is coinciding with this premiere. You can reserve your tickets here and check out the write up in Broadway World!

Check out the video below or click through to read more about the piece here!

New Song for Civilians "Let Me Ascertain You" at Joe's Pub

I had the honor of working with the Civilians Theater Company on their concert series "Let Me Ascertain You" where they take interviews and use them to create new songs and monologues around a certain theme.

This concert was all about ANARCHY, and I had the privilege of writing a song about a man named Kerry (Weishin) who emigrated from China at the age of 9 after the Tiananmen Square riots in 1989. In his interview he compares the police brutality he witnessed as a child with what he saw happen in Ferguson, and raised questions about how Democracy and Communism can look so similar despite their core fundamental differences.

I had the honor of having Cindy Cheung perform the song with me. Video is on it's way!

CenterStage Boulder performs 8 Velez/Hathaway Songs in "40 Degrees North"

This past Friday the CenterStage Theater Company in Boulder, Colorado performed 6 songs from Afterland and 2 more from other projects as part of their show 40 Degrees North: A Cabaret of New Work and Great Talent, Directed by Jeanie Balch and Music Direction by Daniel Graeber.

Katie and I couldn't make it out to Boulder for the concert, but it was truly an honor to have them performing our work, and luckily they filmed it and put them on their YouTube Channel.

Here's Chanel Karimkhani singing "Philly Philly Philadelphia" from Afterland and absolutely NAILING it. 

Emily Skeggs sings "I Can Always Feel the Rain" from Afterland

It was such an honor to have my friend Emily Skeggs perform "I Can Always Feel the Rain" from our show Afterland at the Swish Ally Fund Benefit Concert "Songs in the Key of Equality" at Le Poisson Rouge this week.

She absolutely killed it and I couldn't have been more proud to have the song performed at such a wonderfully empowering and loving event celebrating both straight and LGBT volunteers who are fighting for equality around the country.

Columbia University Songbook at 54 Below - March 10th @ 9:30PM

I'm honored to be showcasing my work alongside some of Columbia's most talented songwriting alums, including Tom Kitt, Jeanine Tesori and Peter Lerman, as well as Legends like Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein/Lorenz Hart and John Kander and Fred Ebb.

The concert is being put together by Laura Pietropinto who is celebrating the Columbia tradition of theater writing largely indebted to The Varsity Show, the longest performing arts tradition at Columbia and where most of us got our first legs.

Katie and I will be doing two songs from Afterland with the help of Donna Vivino, Emily Walton and Michael Anthony Walsh. We couldn't be more thrilled and excited!

More info on the concert here: http://54below.com/artist/columbia-university-songbook/ I'll update with videos once I have them!

MARS ONE with 4@15 at NYU Steinhardt

This past month I was lucky enough to be a part of 4@15: Four Fifteen Minute Musicals at NYU and write a short piece with Katie Hathaway about people applying to be the first humans on Mars. We met our cast in late December, then wrote the show over the two weeks of Winter holidays while I was in Miami and she was in NJ, then we had our first read-through with the cast the day I flew back! We had about 5 rehearsals spread over two weeks and then showtime.

It was such a blast to work with these talented students, and a treat to work with Director Brian Blythe and Music Director Ben Baker. Check out the video below:

MARS ONE - by Benjamin Velez and Kathryn Hathaway A private Dutch venture dubbed "Mars One" claims they can beat NASA to sending the first humans to Mars. The hitch? It's a one-way trip backed by questionable technology, and yet 200,000 people have already applied. But who are they?!