Westfield native to perform Mister Benny at JCC on Friday
JAMESTOWN – Mister Benny, a one-man play featuring renowned actor and Westfield native Tim Newell, will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday in James-town Community College’s Scharmann Theatre.
The play, sponsored by the Robert Lee Scharmann Fund and written by local playwright Mark Hum-phrey, presents an insight into the life and humor of Jack Benny, considered one of the leading entertainers of the 20th century.
Tickets for the performance are $15 and are available through JCC’s box office, 338-1187, or at the theatre door. JCC Faculty Student Association cardholders receive a $3 discount when purchasing tickets in person.
Benny was known for his comic timing, his supposed “stinginess,” his recurring 39th birthday, and his off-key violin playing.
Mister Benny debuted at the Buffalo Ensemble Theatre in May 2001, earning an Artvoice Artie Award nomination for Newell as outstanding actor in a play.
The show did well enough for a second run the following September. Later, A Lunch With Mr. Benny, also written by Humphrey, was produced with the Irish Classical Theatre Company in Buffalo and played in several venues, including The Players club in Gramercy Park.
Mister Benny was revived earlier this year by the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York. Newell notes, “It’s amazing what 11 years can do for an actor: I’m 40 pounds lighter than I was in 2001; I’m older, wiser, drier, wittier, and certainly ‘Bennier’ than I’ve ever been before, and all of this combined has helped me breathe new life into my portrayal of this loveable man and brilliant humorist.”
Newell, a former JCC student and the son of Phyllis Newell and the late David Newell, moved to Buffalo in 1993 from New York City.
Since 1996, he has appeared in dozens of productions with most of the city’s premier houses, and is one of the most admired and recognizable faces in the western New York acting community.
Newell has portrayed Richard III, Iago, Cassius, Polonius, Dogberry, King Claudius, King Lear’s Fool, and Feste for Shakespeare in Delaware Park productions. He has also played Bilbo Baggins and Adolph Hitler.
A four-time recipient of the Artvoice Artie Award for his work as an actor and director, Newell was voted western New York’s favorite actor of 2010 by Buffalo Spree Magazine. He made his acting debut in Chicago in 2012, appearing in Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s Her Naked Skin.