Even after Peter and the Starcatcher — ten months on the road with a pretty lucrative Broadway tour — I had a tough time finding representation.

Then I got an call from Will Cantler, a major casting director I’d known for over a decade. Will rarely works with early-career actors, and he’d never called me in. He'd recently seen my performances in two Assembly shows, though: as a narcissistic communist in HOME/SICK and as a suicidal depressive in That Poor Dream. In December 2014, six months after the Starcatcher tour, Will asked me to audition for the role of a suicidal communist in my first major Off Broadway show.*

I booked the play — an adaptation of Nikolai Erdman's Soviet-era farce The Suicide — and I got to appear opposite some of my favorite actors on the planet, including Joey Slotnick, who I'd seen as a pitch-perfect Groucho Marx at Williamstown; Mary Beth Peil, who'd played a transcendent Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd at The Kennedy Center.

For the first time, some managers and agents expressed interest. A month later, I was signed as part of the inaugural roster of 44 West Entertainment.

Then nine months later, I got married.  Not a bad year.




Production (First National Tour)

August 15, 2013-May 25, 2014

August 15-September 1, 2013: The Denver Center (Denver, CO)

September 17-29, 2013: AT&T Performing Arts Center (Dallas, TX)

October 15-20, 2013: The Hobby Center (Houston, TX)

October 22-27, 2013: Majestic Theatre (San Antonio, TX)

October 29-November 3, 2013: Moore Theater (Seattle, WA)

November 5-December 1, 2013: Curran Theatre (San Francisco, CA)

December 3, 2013-January 12, 2014: The Ahmanson Theatre (Los Angeles, CA)

January 14-January 19, 2014: Gammage Theater (Tempe, AZ)

January 21-January 23, 2014: Wharton Center (East Lansing, MI)

January 28-February 16, 2014: Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.)

February 18-February 23, 2014: Bushnell Memorial Theater (Hartford, CT)

February 25-March 2: Providence Performing Arts Center (Providence, RI)

March 4-March 5, 2014: Stanley Theatre (Utica, NY)

March 7-March 9, 2014: Peabody Opera House (St. Louis, MO)

March 11-March 16, 2014: Orpheum Theatre (Minneapolis, MN)

February 25-February 26, 2014: Harris Center (Folsom, CA)

March 28-March 30, 2014: McCallum Theatre (Palm Desert, CA)

April 2-13, 2014: Bank of America Theatre (Chicago, IL)

April 29-May 4, 2014: Knight Theater (Charlotte, NC)

May 6-18, 2014: Hippodrome Theatre (Baltimore, MD)

May 20-25, 2014: Heinz Hall (Pittsburgh, PA)

by Rick Elice, dir. Alex Timbers and Roger Rees

with Harter Clingman, Jimonn Cole, Joey deBettencourt, Carl Howell, Nathan Hosner, Rob Franklin Neill, Rachel Prather, John Sanders, Benjamin Schrader, Luke Smith, Megan Stern, Ian Michael Stuart, Edward Tournier, Nick Vidal, and Lee Zarrett

Roles: Smee (u/s - perf), Fighting Prawn (u/s - perf), Mrs. Bumbrake (u/s - perf), Slank (u/s), Alf (u/s)

I went on exactly nine times in the ten months I understudied Peter and the Starcatcher: four times as Mrs. Bumbrake, three times as Smee, and twice as Fighting Prawn. The show's innovative staging was breathlessly choreographed, and I had to master not just five actors' lines, but their complex staging, as well as songs in five-part harmony, a ditty on the ukulele, sexy mermaid choreography, and a legion of different accents: R.P., Cockney, Western, Northern, Scottish, and an "unplaceable island dialect".

Every one of those nine performances was challenging and revelatory.

Even more challenging were the other 250-odd performances, during which I stood in the wings or sat in the house or waited in the dressing room. As you can see from this archive, I'd never gone so many months without performing on a regular basis — not since I was a child.  

(Most people think of childhood as the last time they played make-believe; for me, it's the last time I didn't.)

Still, I felt incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to spend a year working on Rick's remarkable play — a prequel to Peter Pan — in an endlessly inventive production helmed by the imaginative Alex Timbers and the inimitable Roger Rees.

Having worked with Roger closely and inspired by him profoundly, I was shocked by his untimely death a year later.


Production (College Tour)

January 30-31, 2014

written and created by the ensemble, dir. Jess Chayes

with Edward Bauer, Kate Benson, Anna Abhau Elliott, Luke Harlan, and Emily Perkins

Role: Tommy

The Assembly @ Wesleyan University

The Assembly's first university engagement.

While Starcatcher played the Kennedy Center, I stepped out for a couple of days to remount HOME/SICK — this time at Wesleyan University, where we were joined for post-show discussions by Mark Rudd, a founding member of the Weather Underground whose memoir was one of our major sources for writing the play.

Ben with former Weatherman Mark Rudd

Ben with former Weatherman Mark Rudd

Barbara Cassidy (right) with Edith Harnick, one of the  Visions  playwrights

Barbara Cassidy (right) with Edith Harnick, one of the Visions playwrights



June 6, 2014

conceived and directed by Barbara Cassidy

with Pernell Walker

After several weeks leading a playwrighting group comprised entirely of blind senior citizens, Barbara Cassidy brought in actors to read from her students' work.

Many of the seven blind playwrights performed with us.


Independent Film (Feature)

June 27-29, 2014 (Principal Photography)

written and directed by Neal Dhand

with Khan Baykal, Christopher J. Domig, Jon Freda, Lindsay Goranson, Peter Mele, and Brian Anthony Wilson

Role: James

Discreet Charm Productions

"Amy Walsh (Lindsay Goranson) returns to Philadelphia after 10 years to visit her ex-cop, current-con father and to join a stick-up crew. After a job gone wrong, Warren Mercer (Brian Anthony Wilson), the cop who put her dad in prison gets on her trail."

A fan of Brian Wilson's performance in The Wire, I was thrilled to play his partner in Crooked and Narrow, which shot on location in Philadelphia. A dirty cop, more venal than vicious, my character finds himself in unexpectedly dangerous territory when Amy and Warren declare war on each other.

Brian still calls me "pard" (for partner) though it's been years since we last worked together.

You can view our imdb page here.






July 15-16, 2014

by Anton Chekhov and Heiner Muller, dir. Jess Chayes and Nick Benacerraf

with Edward Bauer, Kate Benson, W. Tre Davis, Anna Abhau Elliott, Chris Hurt, Matt Korahais, Emily Louise Perkins, Carrie Ann Quinn, and Tom Walker

Role: Trigorin

The Assembly @ the undergroundzero festival

A mashup of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull and Heiner Muller's Hamletmachine.





September 22-25, 2014

written and directed by Barbara Cassidy 

with Amy Jo Jackson, Rob Franklin Neill, and Bret Robinson

Role: X


Thanks to support from JACK, Barbara expanded what had begun as a solo show to incorporate three additional characters: mysterious narrators whose perspectives may or may not reflect the central strangeness of the troubled and troubling protagonist. 




October 4-26, 2014


dir. Jess Chayes

with Edward Bauer, Ray Campbell, Moti Margolin, Emily Louise Perkins, and Terrell Wheeler

Role: Bentley Drummle

The Assembly @ The New Ohio

A year after relinquishing the role of Miss Havisham to tour with Peter and the Starcatcher, I wrote myself back into That Poor Dream as Bentley Drummle, a treacherous Ivy League trustifarian with a violent streak.

Reviews: TimeOut NY









December 11, 2014-January 18, 2015

text by Moira Buffini, freely adapted from Nikolai Erdman's The Suicide

dir. Neil Pepe

with Mia Barron, Nathan Dame, Patch Darragh, Clea Lewis, Peter Maloney, Andrew Mayer, Mary Beth Peil, Jeanine Serralles, Joey Slotnick, Robert Stanton and C.J. Wilson

Role: Yegor Timoveivich

Atlantic Theater Company

By my count, there are about fifteen Off Broadway theater companies in New York with endowments of $2 million or more that consistently produce full seasons of new, high-profile plays. By October of 2014, eleven years after moving to the city, I'd never worked at a single one of them.

In fact, only once had I even auditioned for one.

One afternoon, lamenting this fact to my fiancée, I got two emails on my phone: invitations to audition for projects at Atlantic Theater Company and Classic Stage Company.

After I booked the show at Atlantic, I had to turn down the second audition.


Closed Reading

January 13-16, 2015

by Henrik Ibsen, dir. Rachel Chavkin

with Megan Ketch, Nikiya Mathis and Anatol Yusef

Role: Dr. Rank

I'd first read Dr. Rank with Megan and Rachel a year before.  

Since then, I'd seen both a critically acclaimed Doll's House at Brooklyn Academy of Music and Atlantic Theater Company's Posterity, Doug Wright's unnerving chronicle of Ibsen's final days. Though neither quite reflected the raw contemporary immediacy we're eager to capture in this particular incarnation, both productions were on my mind throughout the workshop.


Workshop (Musical)

January 26, 2015

book by Jennifer Crittenden and Gabrielle Greenberg

music and lyrics by Nate Weida, dir. Alison Beatty

with Matthew Cleaver, Paul Eddy, Janna Emig, Ben Katz, Paul Rescigno, Robbie Rescigno, Kelly Rogers, Sydney Sainte, Arielle Siegel, Sara Taylor and Wes Zurick

Role: Captain Grizzlebeard

Atlantic Theater Company

The week after Dying For It closed, I returned to Atlantic to workshop a new children's musical, with an original score by Nate Weida.

You can catch a clip of my performance here.


Closed Reading

February 20, 2015

by Eric John Meyer

with Ray Campbell, Jean Ann Douglass, and Larry Powell

Roles: Randy, Sneddon, Dr. Klein

Eric Meyer's brilliant new play on the final days of Michael Jackson. Dividing Michael the Icon and Michael the Man into two separate characters (played by a man and a woman, respectively), Eric explores the majesty, mystery, and dysfunction of both MJ and America.



March 1, 2015

devised by the ensemble 

with Stephen Aubrey, Edward Bauer, Nick Benacerraf and Emily Perkins

The Assembly @ IRT

The first workshop of what would become I Will Look Forward to This Later.

Originally inspired by Emily's experiences caring for her aging grandmother, the workshop also incorporated original audio footage of my late acting teacher Gene Lasko and of the radical anarchist writer/director/performer Judith Malina.

Gene, whom I'd interviewed, passed away a couple of months before the workshop, and Judith, whom the company interviewed, died a few weeks later.

We also drew on The Ballad of Narayama, a Kabuki-infused Japanese film which tells the story of a small town where citizens who had reached the age of 70 were taken to the top of the mountain of Narayama and left to die there. The film's central character, an old woman at peace with her impending abandonment, still has all of her teeth, and some of the villagers mock her for having "33 demon teeth".

You can read my blog entry on the process here.



Closed Workshop

April 7, 2015

by Paul Cohen, dir. Teddy Bergman

with Gardiner Comfort

Woodshed Collective

The fifth project I've developed with Woodshed Collective.

Empire Travel Agency is an immersive theatrical experience. Over the course of the performance, the audience uncovers a cast international conspiracy, with profound implications for the future of the human race.


Benefit Performance

April 13, 2015

by Heiner Muller, dir. Jess Chayes

The Assembly @ The New Ohio


Thousands lined up to attend the all-night Night of Philosophy

Thousands lined up to attend the all-night Night of Philosophy




April 25, 2015 (midnight to 5:30 AM)

by The Marquis de Sade

with Chris Ghaffari, Jed Peterson and Jeremy Xido

Role: Madame de Saint-Ange

Cultural Institute of France @ The Ukrainian Institute 

From midnight until 5:30 in the morning, Chris, Jed, Jeremy and I performed the Marquis de Sade's infamous 300-page text in almost its entirety.

We staged the play in a single row of chairs around the perimeter of a small room on the second floor of the Ukranian Institute. The audience — who had braved the late hour, brutal weather, and long lines to get into the event — were free to sit among us, and to come and go at will.



April 26, 2015

by Hank Willenbrink, dir. Jose Zayas

with Eliza Bent, Ryan McCarthy, Greg Perri and Liz Ramos

Role: The Grand Inquisitor


Hank Willenbrink chairs the drama program at The University of Scranton, where he's brought in several brilliant downtown New York theater artists like Eliza Bent, Jess Chayes, and Jose Zayas.

Chronicling the strange, true story of the only female Jesuit in the history of the Catholic Church, La Princesa marries medieval content to modern vernacular.


Closed Reading

May 3, 2015

works-in-progress by Stacy Osei-Kuffour and others

under the direction of Arthur Kopit

with Eric Lockley, Larry Powell and Christina Pumariega

Hunter College, MFA Playwrighting @ The Lark Play Development Center

Though I know his work and his son, I'd never actually met Arthur Kopit before this workshop.

As you might expect from his long and varied career, Kopit is a warm and knowledgeable guy, and a real presence even in this low-key setting.


Workshop Production

May 13-15, 2015

by Seth Moore, dir. Matt Dickson

with Shyko Amos, Alex Herrald, Clinton Lowe, Brian Quijada and Lilli Stein

Roles: Russian Cab Driver, English Waiter, Bronx Bartender, Businessman, Therapist, Old Drunk

The Claque @ The Sheen Center

An associative memory play from the perspective of a blind musician.

Originally conceived as a radio drama, Ghosts in the Tapestry was developed by Matt Dickson and the ensemble into a fully staged workshop.








Staged Reading

May 18, 2015

based on the play by Euripides, freely adapted by Alexandra Silber

dir. Carolyn Cantor

with Jacqueline Antaramian, Cody Bohem, Bettina Bresnan, Kersti Bryan, Ben Davis, Mili Diaz, Amy Jo Jackson, Jeb Kreager, Alexis Molnar, Nikka Lanzarone, Erica Malachowski, Emily Nies, Marissa O'Donnell, Daniel Rowan, Alley Scott, Iris Sharp, Alexandra Silber, Alexandra Socha, Liana Wright Mark, Daniel Yearwood, and Emily Woo Zeller

Role: Teucros

Dutch Kills @ Shetler Studios

Broadway musical veteran Alexandra Silber had recently adapted, directed and starred in Euripides' TROJAN WOMEN at Pace University. Helmed by prolific director Carolyn Cantor, this workshop brought together many actors whose work I knew from professional plays and musicals alongside a chorus made up of Al's student actors from Pace.

The process reminded me of CATO (2008), another classical drama with a non-equity chorus supporting a group of professional actors in the leading roles.

Only this time, I was on the other side.



June 6, 2015

by Howard Meyer, dir. Jenn Haltman

with Anita Anthonj, Alexander Moitzi and Ward Riley

Role: Max

Axial Theatre

I played a Jewish American businessman who has to face his own deep-seated fears and prejudices when he falls in love with a German girl in Nepal.


Closed Reading

June 8, 2015

by Stephen Aubrey, dir. Jess Chayes

with Edward Bauer, Emily Caffery, Jess Cummings, and May Treuhaft-Ali

Role: Tim

The Assembly

Steve Aubrey wrote a play about an intrepid group of revolutionaries who seek to liberate the world from the scourge of the American Dream by disseminating classic works of American literature. He also wrote a play about an office of professionally stymied, sexually frustrated co-workers who yearn to break free from their humdrum surroundings.

They happen to be the same play.


Web Series

June 21, 2015 (Principal Photography)

with William Barnet and Felipe Bonilla

Role: Alden


Staged Reading

June 23, 2015

by Stephen Aubrey, dir. Jess Chayes

with Edward Bauer, Jean Ann Douglass, Layla Khoshnoudi, and Shayna Small

Role: Tim

The Assembly with Planet Connections @ The Paradise Factory


Workshop Production

July 15-18, 2015

by Kate Benson and Emily Louise Perkins

dir. Jess Chayes

with Edward Bauer, Vinie Burrows, James Himelsbach, Linda Larson, and Emily Louise Perkins

The Assembly @ The New Ohio



Closed Reading

July 27, 2015

by Larry Powell

with Lynne Anders, Eric Berryman, Joshua Bonzie, Nick Ducassi, Amber Iman, Danny Johnson, Ambien Mitchell, C. Kelly Wright

Role: Dad

The Lark Play Development Center

Larry Powell, about to start rehearsals for Lucas Hnath's hit The Christians at Playwrights Horizons, came up with a bizarre and surprisingly moving idea for a play: a riff on the classic children's book Are You My Mother? that explored one young African-American man's disenchantment with and alienation from American society.

I played one of the young man's white parents, who break the news to him, after eighteen years of lying, that he's not their biological son.


Production (Musical)

August 5-August 8, 2015

music by Andy Robinson, lyrics and book by Greg Edwards

with Rob Hille and Victoria Huston-Elem

Sam French One Act Festival @ Classic Stage Company


Closed Reading

August 20, 2015

by Henrik Ibsen, dir. Rachel Chavkin

with Sanjit DeSilva, Alex Hurt, and Megan Ketch

Role: Dr. Rank




August 25-August 30, 2015

by Kate Benson and Emily Louise Perkins

dir. Jess Chayes

with Edward Bauer, Vinie Burrows, Linda Larson, and Emily Louise Perkins

The Assembly @ NACL



September 9-September 10, 2015


Ben Beckley, Emily Louise Perkins, Edward Bauer, Anna Abhau Elliott, and Ramon Torres

The Assembly with Green Plays

A meditation cult struggles for clarity in the wake of its leader's sudden passing.



Closed Reading

September 23, 2015

by Caitlin Saylor Stephens

with Nate Miller, Emily Perkins Margolin, Laura Ramadei, and Stephanie Weeks

Role: Hubby

The Lark Play Development Center

A battered woman in rural Appalachia seeks revenge.



October 6-9, 2015

by Jean Ann Douglass and Eric John Meyer

with Laura Campbell, Anne Gridley and David Skeist

Role: Lawyer

Human Head Performance Group

As this cast illustrates, what defines success is, for an actor, an existential question.

Anne, a downtown theater darling, is best known for her celebrated experimental work with Nature Theatre of Oklahoma.

Laura has major TV and regional credits, but she's criminally underutilized in New York theater.

David, like me, is an Ivy League grad who premiered plays at The Flea, develops new projects with his New York-based theater company, and had a recent high-profile Off Broadway credit to his name.

All three of them have MFAs from Columbia University.

Is critical acclaim success?
Is touring internationally?
Making your own work?

Do regional theater and television define success?
Does an MFA?
An Ivy League degree?




Staged Reading (Musical)

October 12, 2015

music by Stephanie Johnstone, lyrics and book by Stephanie Johnstone and Josh William Gelb

with Bryce Pinkham, Ato Blankson-Wood, Julian Fleischer, Amber Gray, and Rick Burkhardt


An inspired musical fantastia about the gory glories of piracy — and its attendant horrors.


Staged Reading

November 2, 2015

by Helayne Schiff, dir. Jessi Hill

with Teddy Bergman, Dean Imperial, Liv Rooth, and Jeanine Serralles

Role: Stan/FBI Agent

Naked Angels

On September 11, 2001, debris from the World Trade Center smashed through Helayne's apartment window. She wrote this remarkable play about surviving the terror of 9/11 and the looting that followed it.

You can read more about Helayne's experience here.




Independent Film (Feature)

November 9, 2015 (Principal Photography)

written and directed by Adam Keleman

with Caroline Dhavernas and C.J. Wilson

Role: Man In Bar

A week after Protectus reunited me with Dying For It castmate Jeanine Serralles, Easy Living brought me back in contact with another Dying For It alum: C.J. Wilson.

I hadn't seen either of them since the show closed in January, and was shocked to discover Jeanine was six months pregnant.


Staged Reading

November 14, 2015

dir. Jess Chayes

with Moti Margolin and Tony Torn

Dutch Kills

A staged reading of my first full-length play.

Tony Torn, a fierce and fearless actor, took on the role of the demented (or possibly visionary) self-proclaimed monarch who for eleven years has sat on a gutted toilet under the streets of some godforsaken metropolis, waiting for the world to end. Moti Margolin as his steadfast servant Dead Bill conveyed both a natural sweetness and a subtle sense of anger.

The play is about our need to believe in things and the impossibility of believing in things. It's something I understood from growing up in the Methodist Church and from my work in the theater, where thousands of us wait endlessly for a grand apotheosis of career and art that may never come.

Jess directed with incisive grace. Though we'd worked together on short pieces for The Assembly, this was our first time collaborating on a full-length play that I'd written.


playwright Rachel Bonds

playwright Rachel Bonds


Closed Reading

November 16, 2015

by Rachel Bonds, dir. Mike Donahue

with Coleman Domingo and Hannah Cabell

Role: Yuri

The Lark Play Development Center

Coleman Domingo (Passing StrangeLincoln) and Hannah Cabell (Zero Hour) are two of my favorite actors, and it was thrilling to read with them. It was thrilling also to read a new play by Rachel Bonds, who has an uncanny ability to capture the sadness at the heart of so much contemporary life.


Closed Workshop

November 24, 2015

by Kate Benson and Emily Louise Perkins

dir. Jess Chayes

with Edward Bauer, Vinie Burrows, James Himelsbach, Linda Larson, and Emily Louise Perkins

The Assembly @ IRT

Ben with Linda Larson

Ben with Linda Larson

Ben with Eric John Meyer, Laura Campbell, and Frederick the Squirrel.

Ben with Eric John Meyer, Laura Campbell, and Frederick the Squirrel.


Closed Reading

December 2, 2015

directed and written by Eric John Meyer and Jean Ann Douglass

with Laura Campbell, Anne Gridley and David Skeist

Role: Lawyer

Human Head Performance Group

In Frame

Closed Reading

December 9, 2015

by Liza Powell O'Brien

Role: Luke

Lark Play Development Center

Liza's play is about the complex power dynamic between a fashion photographer and his model.

Liza's husband, incidentally, is a certain late night talkshow host. (Hint: his last name is also O'Brien.)



December 10, 2015

by Jess Chayes, Kim Davies, Caitlin Saylor Stephens

dir. Jess Chayes and Sarah Krohn

with Jess Chayes, Laura Ramadei, and Caitlin Saylor Stephens

Roles: David Mamet, Hubby, Boss

New Georges' Jam @ The Brick

I played — in decreasing order of verbosity — an irate David Mamet, an overbearing boss, and a recently murdered husband.

The boss was featured in a brilliant excerpt of a gender-flipped Marx Brothers play — written, performed, and directed by Jess Chayes.  It's the first and only time I've gotten to act with my wife.