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Waiting for Elizabeth
A review of Ben Bryant's new book

Those who have read, and enjoyed, as I did, Three Stages and Circumstances Beyond My Control, the first two volumes of Ben Bryant's autobiography, subtitled My Journey, have a treat in store, namely volume three of the aforesaid My Journey trilogy. It is entitled Waiting For Elizabeth.

Three Stages,the first of the three volumes, told the story of Ben's childhood, his youthful introduction into performing in front of live audiences, and finally his debut, as a young man, into the fascinating - and challenging - world of professional Show Biz.

Ben quickly became recognized as an outstanding performer: actor and singer, with a first class tenor voice. Three Stages paints a vivid picture of life on the musical comedy and operatic stages.

Volume two of Ben's auto bio, Circumstances Beyond My Control, describes his transition from a "behind the footlights" guy to a behind the scenes guy as a producer, first assistant director and cameraman in film and TV.

Now volume three is, in effect, the denouement of Ben's story, one that contains much more than a simple recital of his career from approximately 1990 to the present day.

Although this volume does contain many interesting tales of the painstaking efforts required to survive and succeed in show biz, the heart of this drama involves the love of his life, Elizabeth Hepburn, who became Mrs. Ben Bryant many years ago. Elizabeth is also a performer, a very fine one, and, though marriage for must people does contain many challenges over the years, marriage between two professional performers is, indeed, a testing ground for patience, resolve and sacrifice. In fact, not very many couples in "the Biz" are able to maintain a loving relationship throughout a lifetime. I am speaking from personal experience, as my wife and I, also professional performers, have celebrated over 60 years of marriage. It was sometimes a struggle but we are still together!

Ben and Elizabeth have also survived and thrived in their careers and their marriage. Or should I say marriages, as Waiting For Elizabeth sees them through the most trying period of their lives, a time which resulted in the apparent climax of their 30 some years of marriage: a lengthy separation and then, a divorce! This story of their eventual reconciliation and - hurrah! - remarriage forms the true and very moving climax of this tale.

However, also contains many, many interesting and entertaining descriptions of how films and television shows are put together. Creating a worthwhile finished product in this extremely competitive arena involves interactions with many fascinating, amusing, often hilarious characters, and Ben has a distinctive knack for relating the highs and lows of all the dramas that go on behind the scenes. His evolution as a creative artist also grows during that period of his life as he not only becomes a director but discovers that his most satisfying form of expression is as a video editor.

Waiting For Elizabeth is a great pleasure to read - entertaining, informative, and moving. I recommend it highly!

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by Lowell Harris

Ben's book is available here.