Updated: Sep 21
Inspiring Artists Stories
Today we'd like to introduce you to Bobby Bennett
Current Location: Denver, Co
Bobby, thank you for joining us. Before we jump into it, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I got my first professional job at the age of seven. I was a magical squirrel named Mr. Elegant at the Denver Metropolitan Children's Theater. It was my first paying job and I got a whopping $65, which to a seven year old was a mint. I then went on to perform in local theater and summer stock throughout Denver. Eventually getting my big break at 19 years old, in 2006 I landed in the Top 24 of American Idol. From there I went on to play the cabaret clubs across the country in Hollywood, New York City, and Denver. I've had the opportunity to be the host of my own NBC/Universal cable show, Reel Ticket and I've been in over 40 productions in my 27 year career. Most recently I starred in the regional premiere of The Boys in The Band in Denver and was Nominated for the Henry Lowenstein Award for Best Supporting Actor as Harold, and won Best Supporting Actor for the Vintage Theater's 2019 Season. I'm currently working on a virtual cabaret series called Bennett Sings...
Can you tell us about what you're currently working on ?
I had been working in the theater since 1993, so in 2016 I decided to go back to school to focus on getting my Bachelors Degree in Communication Arts and Sciences and Broadcasting, while also pursuing a Theater Minor at MSU Denver. I've just entered my final year so currently, I'm focused on getting my degree. I am also recording a few standards for the upcoming virtual cabaret series I mentioned earlier, Bennett Sings...
Overall, has it been a smooth road? If not, what are some of the struggles you've experienced along the way and how have you overcome them?
This has not been an easy road. Being a Brown/Black and Queer man of six feet two inches and, at one time, tipping the scales at 350 pounds, it has been a struggle to not be typecast. I've had to fight against type and prove I could be a romantic lead while also having the versatility to be a dedicated character actor, the best kind of actor in my opinion. It's also been difficult to shake the reality TV branding. Having American Idol on your resume can be a blessing and a curse. But I think the biggest challenge I've faced is working hard to show producers and directors that the color of my skin and my former voluptuous physicality should not relegate me to only stereotypical bit parts. Personally, I don't read music and I'm not a dancer and in all honesty I don't think I'm good enough for the chorus. That's why it's best I be given the opportunity to work my buns off in a featured role.
Facing and overcoming those struggles, are there any lessons you have learned along the way?
The biggest lesson I've learned is that real talent doesn't always win. You have to be ok with that and understand how to navigate the game of casting. Above all, work harder than anyone else in the room, be over prepared, never settle and always, always ask questions and remain curious!
Working with professionals on American Idol and then performing in cabarets across the country, has there been any advice you've been given that has stuck with you?
I think the best advice I've been given is that no one will take care of you as well as YOU do. Meaning, take precious care of your body, your instrument, and your spirit. You can not do your best work if you are not aligned properly with your best self.
That is an inspiring piece of advice. Is there anything that inspires you to keep up with that mantra?
I think the most current event that has inspired me is the Black Lives Matter Movement. This movement has just solidified my life's creed; to not settle for the status quo, and to always ask questions. Question everything and fight the good fight. Just because something has become "normalized" does not make it "right."
In all that you've done so far in your career, what do you consider your proudest moment?
The proudest moment of my career so far was probably winning Best Supporting Actor for the Vintage Theater's 2019 Season. The fact that audiences felt that I gave the best performance in that category of an entire theater season was beyond thrilling and extremely gratifying.
Given the current events of today, what role do you think the arts plays in society?
The role of the arts and artists in society is absolutely ESSENTIAL. During this time of being sequestered we should think: what have people been watching, listening to, or reading? Artists and Art! That's who! We are the blood stream of humanity. Music, art, and movies are the only things on the planet that can connect us all. Art transcends race, gender, religion, and politics.
We've often heard that the arts are in a pivotal, almost transitionary period. What are your hopes for the future of the arts industry?
With the current state of our world I am very concerned for the state of the arts. However, we are creators and innovators so it is with that knowledge that I know we will find new and exciting ways to bring the arts back to the masses.
Rachel D. Graham
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