We remember Ben Nordstrom first in the 2001 Stages St. Louis production of She Loves Me as an eager-to-please delivery boy pleading "Try Me." Over the past decade, it has been a pleasure to watch Nordstrom develop and mature as a performer even as, in the suspicious manner of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, he seems not to have aged at all. But Nordstrom has never been content to sit back and repeat the same performance. So for every Urinetown there has been a foray into experimental theater like The Ugly One at Echo. Do you need an actor to fill out the cast of a fifth-grader's play in the WiseWrite Festival? Call Ben, he'll do it — and he always did. It was typical of Nordstrom that before moving to New York with his family, he would give back to the theater that has so supported and appreciated him one last time, with a free concert at Manchester United Methodist Church on May 22. Despite the threat of tornados (this was the same night Joplin was struck), a crowd of about 500 turned out to hear songs from Godspell, Les Miz and Promises, Promises. Among the highlights: "Something's Coming" from West Side Story. Sometimes leaving a place is the best insurance that you'll return. We can only hope Nordstrom will be back to perform in St. Louis soon.
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