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Update: Ben Nordstrom stays the course

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 29, 2011 - In late May, Ben Nordstrom gave what was billed as a "Farewell Cabaret" performance at Manchester United Church before moving to New York a couple months later. Nordstrom, who has been a strong presence on the St. Louis theater scene for a decade in notable performances with the Rep, Stages and other area theater companies, wanted to try to make his mark on the non-stop, high-energy theater scene in Manhattan - and this seemed the right time to give it a go.

"It's time," Nordstrom said in a Beacon article previewing his May performance. "I've been lucky to stay as busy as I have in St. Louis theater. But I feel it's time to go back and give New York another try ... to be somewhere I can be immersed in theater 24/7."

Recently, Nordstorm took time from his busy schedule to update how the move to New York has been going. According to Nordstrom, a good part of this year has been devoted to just getting his family acclimated to living in the New York area.

"I didn't actually get here until July," says Nordstrom, "And we're living in Greenwich, Conn., which is about 40 minutes outside Manhattan. We have some friends here who lured us, and the schools are terrific and it's a little more space for your money."

Nordstrom lined up an agent through actor friends in the New York area that he worked with at the Rep and Stages, and has worked to gain a presence on the competitive theater scene there.

"I've steadily begun to get more auditions as more casting directors get to know me," he says. "I was in a new musical called 'Greenwood' at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in September and October, which starred Andrea McArdle. And I just recently landed a co-star role on the CBS drama, 'A Gifted Man.' So I'm excited about that. I shoot that in early January - but I'm not sure when the episode will air."

Nordstrom was scheduled to return to St. Louis to be a part of the Rep production of "A Comedy of Errors," but has decided that it makes more sense to stay the course in new York for the time being.

"I just decided that for my first year back in NYC, I want to stay here and really focus on getting things going," states Nordstrom. "I've also been turning down other auditions and jobs for that same reason. That's been hard, but it does feel right to 'stay the course' - at least for now. Everyone at the Rep was so great and understanding about it."

But Nordstrom has been back to St. Louis a couple times already for short visits that included performance - and more are planned.

"I love staying connected to St. Louis," he states. "I've been back to perform at a couple of events - the Stages Gala in November, which raised over $400,000, and just recently for a private holiday party. And I'll be back in March for a benefit cabaret at Villa Duchesne and one for Growing America. Then in late April, I'll be back to host an event at the Fox. I'm so grateful for St. Louis and the support of the audiences there!"

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer who specializes in music. 

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. He has written for the St. Louis Beacon since 2009. Terry's other writing credits in St. Louis include: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis American, the Riverfront Times, and St. Louis magazine. Nationally, Terry writes for DownBeat magazine, OxfordAmerican.org and RollingStone.com, among others.

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