YOU NEED to know Benjamin Davis. He gets things done. The Atlanta-based actor/producer is founder and executive artistic director of the brand-new Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival, debuting Aug. 1-2.

And less than three years out of college, he’s built an impressive professional acting resume with work at eight metro theaters. “I’ve always been the overachiever type,” he says. Uh-huh. Here’s more.

Age: 26. He’s a St. Paddy’s Day baby, who grew up in Buford.

Lives now: In an apartment in the North Druid Hills area of Atlanta/DeKalb County.

Benjamin Davis_1_CROP
Photo by Casey Gardner

Where you’ve seen him: Most recently as lovesick sailor Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd at Actor’s Express. Also as Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show (Express); Thankskilling the Musical (Dad’s Garage); Hands on a Hardbody, The Cat in the Hat, Christmas Canteen and Les Misérables (Aurora Theatre); James and the Giant Peach (Alliance Theatre); Stinky Kids the Musical (Synchronicity Theatre); and Philadelphia, Here I Come (Arís Theatre).

Commercially speaking: In TV spots for Home Depot (sales-associate-in-training), RaceTrac (a new hire), Zaxby’s (a bored worker at a competitor) and the Georgia Lottery (group scene).

Education/training: Cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia. B.A. in theater, B.S. in psychology. Part of the 2014 Aurora Theatre Apprentice Company.

First time onstage: At age 11, playing Winthrop Paroo in his middle-school production of The Music Man. “I really just got cast because I had red hair and something of a lisp.”

Why theater? “It feeds my creative soul. Not only do I love the art form and the aspect of creating characters and building an ensemble, I also love working with the people who do theater, the relationships that evolve, the forming of family.”

Davis (right) As Gar Public in "Philadelphia, Here I Come." Photo: Safaa Salamander
Davis (right) As Gar Public in “Philadelphia, Here I Come” at Arís Theatre. Photo: Safaa Sammander

Leading man: Grew up singing in church and then school choirs. With The Music Man he realized his passion for music could be channeled into theater. He’s played the King of Siam in The King and I (yes, he shaved his head), L’il Abner in L’il Abner, Jean Valjean in Les Miz, Billy Crocker in Anything Goes, Hero in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Ko-Ko in The Hot Mikado.

Favorite musical: Spring Awakening. “I remember seeing the original Broadway production twice, and sat onstage once.”

Day job: Delivering pizza for Da Vinci’s in Midtown.

Dream role(s) yet to be: The suicidal Moritz in Spring Awakening. Any of the male characters in Dogfight, an off-Broadway musical about Vietnam-bound Marines in the 1960s. And when he’s older, Billy Flynn in Chicago and Jean Valjean in Les Miz.

Dream roles accomplished: Anthony in Sweeney Todd. Gar Public in Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come. Brad in The Rocky Horror Show. “I realized how iconic they were, and how great it was for my well-being to play them.”

About the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival: “It was a very vague idea I had that turned into a real one.” Being at the New York Musical Theatre Festival last summer, where he produced The Last Time We Were Here by Atlanta artists Jessica De Maria and Jeremiah Parker Hobbs, “just sort of solidified the idea.” Look for a crowdfunding campaign (the fest hopes to raise $10,000) through the festival’s fiscal sponsor, C4 Atlanta, an advocacy and service nonprofit. Donate HERE (hint, hint).


What’s next: Ben plays Hortensio, Bianca’s second suitor in Kiss Me, Kate at Stage Door Players in Dunwoody, and Gilley, a 16-year-old Irish-American punk, in the Tony Award-winning (best play, 1986) I’m Not Rappaport at Aurora. Also, development of The Last Time We Were Here continues with a weekend-long, three-performance public workshop at Synchronicity Theatre (June 17-19).

About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project. Full disclosure: She’s also an artistic associate at Synchronicity Theatre.

View all posts by Kathy Janich