"Call Me Adam" chats with actor, pianist, and musical director Ben Moss about starring in The Vineyard Theatre's production of Arlington alongside Alexandra Silber, with Book & Lyrcis by Victor Lodato, Music by Polly Pen, and Directed by Carolyn Cantor through March 23. Click here for tickets!
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1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My love affair with performing began when I was given the LEAD ROLE in the 1st grade play (truly, the stars aligned). I was "Freddy the Frog" in ONCE UPON A LILYPAD and I guess I just really found it exciting. Flash forward: after spending a year on tour with SPRING AWAKENING, I went to college and thought I actually was finished with performing. It took about 1 month for me to realize that I needed to be performing to be happy in my life. That cemented it for me.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? That list is WAY too big to even delve into here. Am I allowed to say Meryl Streep? How about Stephen Sondheim? I would love to work with the director John Doyle (SWEENEY TODD with Patti LuPone, COMPANY with Raul Esparza) - as both a musician and an actor, his work is really exciting and presents a great challenge.
3. What attracted you to Arlington? ARLINGTON is a difficult show to imagine reading it on paper, but the depth of the score and the beauty of the words in the libretto really convinced me that this piece was something special and not to be missed. I loved the portrait of this woman and this family that the piece creates, and I think it's incredibly timely.
4. During the show, you are on stage and not on stage at the same time. What is this like for you? Sitting behind a scrim makes it feel like I am in my own little world back there, but I am in plain view for the duration of the piece, so even when everyone is looking at Al, I'm still lurking in the background. It takes a lot of focus to play for an hour but the time really does fly by. Once the train leaves the station you've just got to play until it stops!
5. What is your process like to jump between being the accompanist and having to jump into multiple roles during the show? There's one moment in the show where I come in singing and I always forget that it's going to happen! I do feel as though I'm performing throughout the piece, whether I'm playing or singing as well, so when I need to speak or sing it's really just one more thing my character does at that moment.
6. What is the best part about getting to work with the amazingly talented and delightful Alexandra Silber? Learning something new from her every day. Getting to see how an incredible actress refines her performance night to night. Remaining amazed that she can actually pull off what she does SEVEN times a week and sometimes TWICE in one day. Mostly, though, I love that I've made a talented and supportive new friend. She is quite truly one of the best.
7. What do you enjoy most about performing at The Vineyard Theatre? The people who work there are incredible! Not only did we have a great team working on ARLINGTON directly, but the whole in-house crew is so supportive and friendly. They're always looking out for us, coming around to chat, just being generally awesome. There is a really special vibe down there and I simply adore it.
8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Woof. I have received so much great advice in my life that this is really hard to choose, but one piece of advice I got when I was auditioning for ARLINGTON was to not to let your own conceptions of yourself stop you from putting yourself out there. I was pretty certain I was wrong for this role, but a fellow actor encouraged me to go in anyways, saying that it wasn't my job to decide that - it was my job to go in there and be so good that they would have no choice but to cast me, even if I wasn't what they'd imagined. Guess it paid off!
9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Being a performer is all about learning new things all the time (new songs, new lines, new dance moves). It's only in this way of constantly learning and challenging yourself that you grow.
10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? There's a great "This American Life" segment about this question that I highly recommend. Me, personally...I would probably choose the power of teleportation (NOT the power of flight - flying is very flashy). I hate flying. I'd rather just think of being in Bermuda and then open my eyes and be there.
11. Favorite way to stay in shape? I've been using this machine called the "Total Body Crossramp" at the gym, whatever that means. I like it. When it's nice out I like running outside, especially along the water!
12. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs. I'm an underwear bipartisan.
Ben Moss is thrilled to be making his off-Broadway debut in ARLINGTON. Previous credits include SPRING AWAKENING (1st National Tour), BUNKED! (NY International Fringe Festival, 2010), and various commercials and films. Ben graduated from Harvard University in 2013 with a degree in English, and was the recipient of the Radcliffe Doris Cohen Levi Prize for Musical Theater. As an undergraduate, Ben was a cast member and composer of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and a member of The Signet Society. Ben has worked with composers and directors at the American Repertory Theater, The Public Theater, Prospect Theater Company, Lincoln Center Theater, and New York Stage and Film. He is represented by CESD and is a proud member of Actors' Equity. Unending gratitude to Kimberly Grigsby and Michael Friedman, and love to Mom, Dad, Caroline and Lucy.