Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

THE MUSE

Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

THE MUSE

From School to Stardom

Theatre junior Benjamin Krieger secures a starring role on upcoming Nickelodeon show
A+part+of+Krieger%E2%80%99s+character+role+was+to+sing+and+play+the+guitar.+Krieger+has+been+singing+since+he+was+nine+and+learning+to+play+the+guitar+since+13.+
Photo courtesy of Krieger
A part of Krieger’s character role was to sing and play the guitar. Krieger has been singing since he was nine and learning to play the guitar since 13.

In four days, theatre junior Benjamin Krieger went from a typical Wednesday of school and afternoon homework, to a plane en route to Los Angeles, California.

Krieger has been chasing the acting spotlight since sixth grade when he began touring with three Broadway shows: “Pippin,” a musical, in Tokyo and Amsterdam, for nine months; the “Sound of Music” nationally for two months; and “Finding Neverland” in seventh grade which toured in the United States. Krieger’s parents, who work and take care of his younger siblings, were unable to travel with him, and left Krieger with his camp counselor as his legal guardian. 

“Being away from my parents, I quickly learned to grow up and become very independent,” Krieger said. “I’m glad I had that experience in sixth and seventh grade because it shaped me to be who I am now, but it also helped me in a professional sense for this big break.”

His “big break” was receiving a starring role in an upcoming Nickelodeon TV show, whose name and characters are yet to be released. After Krieger’s former acting coach informed him about the gig, Krieger took interest in the show’s search for a teen actor who can sing, act, and play the guitar. Krieger decided to send in a self-tape.

“I filmed with the audition breakdown, a breakdown of the characters [and] scripts of a couple scenes that you have to read to the audition, and they had that for each character,” Krieger said.

In October 2019, Krieger auditioned for the role of Jacob (though the names have since changed) because he thought his lines were “cute” and that Jacob is “really funny.” The night he sent his audition to the show’s casting crew, he received an email requesting for another tape by the next day of him reading the character Austin’s lines. The next day, Krieger was asked to fly to Los Angeles for an in-person audition.

“Saturday morning, I flew out there and then I was back by Sunday morning,” Krieger said, finding out about the role only three days prior. “It was such a quick thing, it was crazy. I didn’t sleep for those two days because I was on the plane there and then on the plane back. I didn’t even know where I was, I was so tired.”

In Los Angeles, Krieger did a screen test where he was broken up into groups with other auditioners to read lines, switching out characters to see what fit best. A week after his live audition, Krieger was asked to return to Los Angeles in December for a callback. Prior to his final audition in December, Krieger was asked to sign a contract to confirm his commitment to the show since the production had auditioned about 20,000 teens for the roles since January of 2019.

“The first time that I put my foot down [and] grasped what was happening was when I was there in December,” Krieger said. “It was happening so fast, I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. ….  I missed zero school for it, so it was my weekend, that’s how it felt at the time. Now, look where I am.”

The contract Krieger signed stipulated that he would be notified within 15 days of whether he got the part. He recalls being told his good news on the 12th day and that it’s “ingrained in [his] head forever.” The original filming date was in April, though the pandemic silenced the operation.

“What’s crazy is that I’m sure there were a lot of working actors that had to deal with this kind of thing, but for me and some of the other kids, this was our first rodeo in something that big,” Krieger said. 

On August 10, the period of silence ended when Krieger’s agent sent an email about a Skype call to create a “game plan” she received from the show’s production team.

“I’ve never been more ecstatic. I was more excited than when I got the part for the first time,” Krieger said. “It was quarantine, I wasn’t doing anything and I thought this was over, and then I got that and it was the best surprise.”

On the Skype call, Krieger interacted with the friends he made during the auditions, producers, the director and writer.  They gave the news that filming would begin during the fourth quarter of the year. The actual start time was January 2021. During that lull, Krieger waited.

“It was [the] end of October [and] they said, ‘Next week, do you want to come out to LA for a week and we’re gonna pre record songs for the show,’” Krieger said. “That was the best because it was a little taste of what I was going to get in January.”

In Los Angeles, Krieger recorded songs for the pilot episode. The filming dates for that episode were January 15 through February 17 in Atlanta, Georgia. In Atlanta, Krieger had two weeks of rehearsals and two weeks of filming.

“For your audition, you always see the people behind the table, [as] so far from your friend,” Krieger said. “Going to LA, to these pre-records, I got a glimpse of what it’s like and further in January, I realized these people are my friends. … We can talk to them about anything. … At the end of day, once you get the part, they’re just trying to make it the best they can for you, they want you to shine because they know if you shine their show’s gonna be great. … It was weird seeing that dynamic shift between the person behind the table to the person who’s helping you out.”

On set, along with filming and rehearsals, Krieger had to do three hours of school per day. If he exceeded three hours of school a day, he could “bank hours” which would roll on to another day. Schoolwork had to be worked on in 20 minute blocks. Prior to leaving for set, Krieger discussed with his teachers on strategies for him to complete his assignments. Krieger found Covid served as an advantage for keeping up with school.

“If it wasn’t for Covid and everything being virtual, I don’t know how I would have done it,” Krieger said. “They couldn’t mail me every single piece of paper. That’s the only reason I’m grateful for Covid.”

The show is a “single-cam” show with scenes filmed multiple times from different angles, which means it took about two to three hours to film one scene. Krieger worked 10 hours a day, in accordance with Georgia’s child labor laws for 16 year-olds. 

“Waiting in itself to hear about an audition is stressful, but then waiting because of Covid, it was brutal, but I’m so glad that it concluded the way it did,” Kriger said. 

While future filming dates are still undecided, Krieger was able to experience a small part of what is to come for the rest of the season.

“It was the greatest experience of my life, it was better than any experience I had in sixth and seventh grade,” Krieger said. “This was something special. I knew everything that was going on and I love the kids so much. … We’d be on set and even a second before we called action, we’d be making jokes and talking to each other. If [we] hear[d] three, two, one action, we’d get into character and we’d do the scene. We had such good chemistry amongst each other that translated very well on screen.”

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About the Contributor
Bridget Frawley
Bridget Frawley, Editor In Chief
Bridget Frawley is a third-year staffer and co-editor-in-chief on The Muse. When she is not writing stories of her own, Bridget is working with the staff to build connections and ensure all voices are represented through diverse coverage that stretches across platforms. Outside of the publication room, Bridget can be found reading classics, being with her cat, or browsing local bookstores.
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