Page 2 - Mike W Benjamin Hall of Fame
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lVHc a~l W. Benjamllr~Sf:- L ------

BirthPlace: Fresno, CA ~~)
Date of Birth: lay 30. 1947 ~) Ci

Forty-five (4j) years in theatre arts seems so long, and, ichael W. Benjamin, Jr. has spent that much
time teaching and guiding others in all aspects of stagecraft, drama and theatre arts. What a masterful
teacher many say he is.

Michael W. Benjamin, Jr. was born in Fresno. C in 1947; he eventually moved to Sacramento, CA
wbere he attended Stanford Jr High School, Sacramento High School and California State University,
Sacramento (CSUS)- there be received his B.A. degree in Theatre Arts. He also obTained a life credential
ro teach at the Community College level.

Throughout his formative years, Michael's mother was instntmental in encouraging him to receive an

Michael says that a turning points in his life that impacted him greatl)' wa when he was cut from his high
chool baseball team. That experience caused him to think that there must be more to life than baseball.
Thus. he turned to college, and many new doors were o'pened to him.
Whenever he experienced difficult m ments in life, Michael says he would always remember an
expression of Willie Jolly, a motivational speaker, whom he admires: "a setback is a setup for a
comeback." Benjamin recalls reading the book of the arne title and says "this book gave me the
motivation I needed and nergy to move forward in life. Jolley says, "You have a choice in life. You
can choose to be, choose to be healthy, chose to be IN altby. Success is a choice, not a -.:hange."
Michael W. Benjamin, Jr.
the first instructor to teach Afro-American theatre etas es at Sacramento City College;

the fir t African American to join Local 50 Stagehand Union in Sacramento:
the fir t African-American to be co-owner f the Sacramento R pertory Theatre;
the first African American instructor to teach stagecraft in the Arts Deparrment, at California tate
University Sacramento (CSU )
For many year, he has worked Wilh the Sacramento Arts Commission in their youth programs. Today,
he continues to work at CSUS teaching Stagecraft and is still involved with community theatre programs.
For 15 years, Benjamin served as vice president of the Oak Park Little League; owns an operates his
own a commw1ity theatre, and bas parti ipated in the Oak Park jazz Concert for over 23 years
"Stay in school," he advises youth, . and get a good education." ,. dream mixed with confidence,
determination, persistence, and massive belief will grow into a reality. The bigger the dream, the bigger
the rewards. '
Michael has been married to his wife (Dorothy L. Benjamin for 41 year. They have two sons: Michael
11 and Marku and two daughters: rvtichelle and Monique. He says the whole fanlil)' has been very I
supportive and helpful t him in all his endeavor - especially his charming wife. Together they opened
two Repertory Theatres in ~acramento; on in 1978 and 1995. respectively.
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