Let's face it, Broadway fans are the best in the whole world. It was extremely difficult for celebrity judges (and Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winners) Orfeh, Nick Adams and Marissa Jaret Winokur to pick just one winner, but now that they have, let's get to know him! Broadway's biggest fan is 13-year-old Ben Rodenmeyer of Jackson, Mississippi. We caught up with Ben, who got his supportive dad Ron to enter the contest for him, to get his reaction, ask him how he’s celebrating and find out what he’s looking forward to most when he heads to the most kickin' awards ceremony of the year!
Ben, you're Broadway’s biggest fan! How do you feel?
Kind of ecstatic! You know, crazy [laughs]. I don’t even know. I kind of forgot about it. I wasn’t really thinking about it. I was just like, “Ugh, I’ve got school today.”
How did you react when you found out?
My mom was at my school and I was like, “Why are you here?” And she was like, “I had a lunch. Oh, by the way, you’re going to New York!” And I was like, “What?!” I tried to keep my cool, but I kind of cried a little bit.
How confident were you that you were going to win?
Well, I know that I’m Broadway’s biggest fan, but I didn’t really know if my video was going to win. I was just doing it for fun. I saw the contest on Broadway.com and I was like, “Oh my gosh!”
Tell me about making your video.
I had nothing to do over spring break. While my other friends were at the beach, I was at home videotaping myself to talk about Broadway. It took me about half a day and then editing. My dad’s a photographer, so he helped me with it. I did it all by that night and put it up on YouTube the next morning.
How did you know you were Broadway’s biggest fan?
I saw Wicked in San Francisco and I was just like, “Oh my gosh. This is amazing! This is what I want to do with my life.” Of course, it was Wicked, so it inspires everybody, but I knew seeing that that I wanted to see more shows. I started collecting Playbills, watching things online and on YouTube and I just became a nerd. I went to New York for the first time with my dad a few years ago. I saw The Addams Family, Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia! on Broadway and Avenue Q at New World Stages in three days [laughs].
What are you most excited to see when you come to New York City?
Definitely Matilda! I’ve been looking forward to that ever since it was in London. I also know Aaron Tveit will be at 54 Below, so I’m going to see if I can get tickets to that. Lucky Guy also sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve never been to the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building, so we’re going to do some touristy things, but theater is my number one.
How are you celebrating until then?
Well, I’m in tech rehearsal for a play right now. We’re doing The Witches by Roald Dahl. I’m playing Bruno, a supporting role. It’s so much fun, and it’s going up this weekend. I’m going to tweet and Facebook a lot [laughs]. Maybe Instagram a couple of things. Maybe my family will go out to eat or something. Oh, yeah! And I’m buying my tickets to Matilda.
The 2013 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards will be presented on Sunday, May 5 at The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Center in New York City. See you there, Ben!
Watch Ben's winning video below!