Actor Ben Vereen to share strategy of prayer, survival

February 09, 1994

Actor/singer Ben Vereen, who recovered from a near-fatal accident in California in 1992 to return to the Broadway stage, will deliver an inspirational lecture about overcoming adversity tonight in Frederick.

The star, who played the Chimney Man in the Broadway hit "Jelly's Last Jam," will appear at 7:30 p.m. at the Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St. Tickets range from $10 to $25. (Call 301-694-8585.)

"He will not only discuss how he overcame his own adversities, but the prayer he admonishes every day to continue to be a successful person," says publicity material for the event.

In June of 1991, the performer was struck and nearly killed by a vehicle as he walked along Pacific Coast Highway near his Malibu home.

Previously, he also overcame his own drug and alcohol addiction and the 1987 auto-related death of his daughter, Naja.

During his speaking engagements he contends that "there is misfortune in life and we as adults must focus on taking those adversities and making the misfortune work for us."

Mr. Vereen also reads the narration for a cassette recording edition of the "Black Bible Chronicles," a modern-vernacular rewriting of the first five books of the Old Testament by P. K. McCary.

In the introduction to the two-tape publication this month, from African American Family Press ($16.95), the author evokes Mr. Vereen's life adversity and contends he "has a hip and holy relationship with the Almighty."

In publicity materials for the cassettes, Mr. Vereen is quoted: "When I was growing up I learned about George Washington crossing the Delaware, Benjamin Franklin and so on, but not where I fit into America as a young black man. P. K. McCary's interpretation of the Bible gives our urban kids a way to relate to God."

In his address tonight, Mr. Vereen also is to discuss the importance of exposing young people to the arts.

HEAR THE BLACK BIBLE

To hear a sample of Ben Vereen's narration of the "Black Bible Chronicles," a modern-vernacular rewriting of the first five books of the Old Testament, call Sundial, the Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County, call 268-7736; 836-5028 in Harford County; 848-0338 in Carroll County. Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6192 after you hear the greeting.

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