With the DC debut of The Lion, Benjamin Scheuer tells his life story, one guitar at a time.
Like so many fairy-tale success stories, Benjamin Scheuer’s The Lion faced plenty of naysayers as it evolved from a series of coffee shop gigs into a full-fledged Off-Broadway musical. “People told me it was a terrible idea,” recalls the 33-year-old singer-songwriter. “A one-person musical where I’m the orchestra and the actors and the writer? And it’s a show about my dead dad and cancer? Like, it’s never going to work.”
But work it does. On a bare stage outfitted with little more than the seven guitars he plays over the course of the show, Scheuer untangles the damaged threads of his life, from the unexpected death of an emotionally withholding father to his own very real battle with stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His tour-de-force performance won him a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance last year.
Still, Scheuer is staying grounded. “I called my mother, and I said, ‘Mom, I won a Drama Desk.’ And she said, ‘You know that [fellow Eton alum] Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar, right?’ I was like, Yes, mom, thank you.” February 26–April 10 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW, 202-488-3300