INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Broadway revue to serve as fundraiser
By : Jenna L. Sykoff
Neil Berg ’86, composer of the off-Broadway hit The Prince and the Pauper, will return to the Binghamton University stage March 23 with 100 Years of Broadway, a critically acclaimed concert revue to benefit the music, theatre and athletic departments. The revue will feature star performances from Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera, Les MisÚrables and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Berg, who brought his traveling revue to Binghamton for the first time during Homecoming 2003, said it would be exciting and natural for him to stop on campus once again for the show’s latest tour.
“I was an undergraduate with incredibly positive memories at BU, and there is such a strong correlation between my experiences there and my career path,” Berg said. “While at BU, I wanted to have a good time pursuing the things that I found interesting and that motivated me. That certainly happened for me there.”
Berg, an all-state centerfielder for Binghamton’s baseball team, combined his passion for theater and athletics by taking on the role of Colonial Woody, then the athletics mascot.
During his junior year, Berg decided to take a friend up on a bet and audition for the musical Brigadoon. He landed his debut role on the Binghamton stage and then chose to dedicate himself to writing. He crafted an original musical, Ghost Story, which the Theatre Department produced.
Berg soon abandoned his original plan to become a lawyer.
“Maybe I didn’t think about it logically, but there was no other choice for me once I started composing,” he said. “I never even knew I was a starving artist when I was in my 20s, because I just couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning and do what I loved.”
Berg attributes his success as a composer, lyricist and producer to unyielding perseverance, drive and opportunities provided to him by Theatre Department Musical Director Susan Peters as well as Professors Thomas Kremer and Fred Weiss.
“Once they gave me opportunities, I didn’t need anything more,” Berg said. “Opportunity is the best thing you can be given. Then it’s up to you.”
Most recently, Berg wrote the film score for Searching for Bobby D, starring Carmen Electra. He is also composing the music for Grumpy Old Men, headed for Broadway in 2008.
If You Go
100 Years of Broadway will begin at 8 p.m. Friday, March 23, in the Osterhout Concert Theater. Tickets, which cost $30 for the general public; $25 for faculty, staff, seniors and alumni; and $10 for students, are available at the Anderson Center Box Office, by calling 777-ARTS, online at http://anderson.binghamton.edu or at the door.