Ben Horen took a big plunge in 2009 when he gave up his middle and high school music teaching job to pursue a longtime passion — acting. Two-plus years into his new venture, and it’s going well he says.
“It was definitely a big gamble,” the gay Grand Rapids, Ohio, native says. “Teaching doesn’t pay a whole lot but there are those wonderful benefits. Giving those up is a very real concern, but after teaching for several years, I realized my passion for performing wasn’t being fulfilled.”
Horen appears this weekend in “Gay: Accept Me if you Love Me” in the Goldman Theatre at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. A hit in Peru, this transplant, getting its first U.S. production, tells of a closeted Republican senator in an unfulfilling marriage. He keeps a gay lover — played by Horen — on the side. Horen says it’s ultimately a story of rejection and redemption. It plays through July 31. Tickets are $45. Go to spotlightcomunicaciones.com for details.
Horen was also in “Cymbeline” at Shakespeare Theater Company and has done a couple of shows at Metro Stage. He played the dying soldier in Tom Goss’s music video “Lover.” He’s doing a Rogers and Hart show at Shakespeare next.
He went to college in Ohio but came to Washington six years ago after a year of teaching in his home state. He moved here to be with an ex but liked the city enough to stay. He formerly taught in Fairfax County schools.
Horen is a personal trainer by day. He’s in a relationship with Minh Trinh and lives in Columbia Heights. He enjoys running and motorcycling in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
Eight years, my parents.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I quite enjoy Number 9.
Describe your dream wedding.
Both of our families and all of our friends in attendance, with the people who have had a huge influence on my life and my immediate family participating in the ceremony. I will have a string quintet and will have a group of my friends singing in the wedding (maybe the Bridal March from “Lohengrin”).
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
The universal right to a quality and equitable education.
What historical outcome would you change?
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Whitney Houston’s “crack is wack” interview with Diane Sawyer.
On what do you insist?
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Bill Maher taking on Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, sexism and Jesus.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Actively work to help counsel youth and adults about self-acceptance and seeking to grow to be who you are, not run from it.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
That there has to be something better for us after we leave this world.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Don’t back down, don’t accept the conciliatory tone and inaction of those who hold power.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That I’d be happier to be out.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing friends and to have met my boyfriend here. And what’s more, it’s an excellent place to begin an acting career! Many don’t know how thriving and excellent the theater scene is in D.C. As far as stage goes, it’s only second to New York.