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Wednesday, 20 March 2019 07:07 pm

Student Ben is streets ahead of the rest

ACTING UP: Ben and co-star Laura Harris during Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

BEN Paterson will be celebrating his 17th birthday with the cast of 42nd Street after he was spotted in a school production and asked to audition for the musical.

Wellington Musical Theatre’s manager Michael Highsted happened on Ben’s talents when he was playing Tony in Wellington East Girls’ College production of West Side Story in July.

Mr Highsted then called Ben and asked if he would like to audition for the company’s production of Broadway hit 42nd Street, which opens tonight.

“I was pretty excited,” says Ben about getting the call. “I was pretty happy and stoked to be asked, because I thought it was quite a good opportunity, because it was something I thought I might want to do seriously.”

The Rongotai College student says he has “about two minutes” of glory in his role as a backing vocalist in the production, but that he has learned heaps.

 “It’s been quite educational, the whole singing side of it. It sounds silly, but I’ve learnt how to breathe – I now know how to breathe correctly for singing apparently.”

Ben – who debuted as one of the lead roles in Rongotai College’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat earlier this year – says he may be on track for a career in performing now. 

“I only had it as a little dream secretly, but I always thought it was just something that could never happen, that it was too far-fetched.”

Despite nursing a cold at home when NewsWire called him, Ben says he is more excited than nervous about the opening night of 42nd Street, and that everyone should come see the show.

“The dancing is fantastic, the singing is awesome, the songs are old ones but good ones, they’ll leave the audience singing them for the next week or so, and it just looks very cool.”

42nd Street opens tonight at St James Theatre and runs until October 15.

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