Las Vegas actor hopes to inspire with charity movie premieres

Vegas Voices is a weekly series featuring notable Las Vegans.

Ben Stobber is making up for lost time.

The 35-year-old Wisconsin native always wanted to act in movies, but he didn’t make the leap until 2015, when he appeared in a short student film called “Hush.” Since then, Stobber has appeared in more than 40 shorts and features, all but two of which filmed in Las Vegas. And he’s begun using the local premieres of those movies to give back to the community.

With October’s red carpet debut of the Tara Reid movie “Party Bus to Hell,” he persuaded the filmmakers and producers to donate the profits from ticket sales — more than $2,000 — to Safe Nest and Heaven Can Wait Animal Society.

The profits from Sunday’s premiere of “Unwritten” — a supernatural thriller, written and directed by Las Vegan Dale Neven, about a writer who believes one of his villains has come to life — will be used to purchase books from Amber Unicorn Books, where the movie was shot. Those books will be donated to the reading advocacy group Spread the Word Nevada.

The red carpet begins at 6 p.m. at AMC Town Square with the screening set for 7 p.m. Tickets are available at Amber Unicorn Books, 2101 S. Decatur Blvd., and Attendees are asked to bring gently used books to be donated to Spread the Word Nevada.

Those books, Stobber hopes, will “just really spark the imagination. That’s what this film, ‘Unwritten,’ also is focused on. It’s the power of a person’s imagination.”

He’s in the process of organizing three more charity movie premieres and hopes to inspire other actors and filmmakers to give back as well. “Our dreams, our passions, they’re not a competition, especially in this industry. … When you do make it, you wanna look back and root for the other people to make it and to go back and help others if you can.”

Review-Journal: How long have you been acting?

Stobber: I started acting probably before I even went to elementary school. I have home videos of acting in these little Christmas pageants we would put on at home. I always loved to entertain my parents and grandparents when they’d visit for the holidays. … I remember seeing Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” when I was 7 years old and enjoying singing the songs and entertaining and putting on shows. And it was that feeling of making people smile and laugh and giving them a moment of escape from the stress and the hardships of the day.

So, Disney, huh?

Even in my karaoke days in Vegas, I brought Disney karaoke CDs to bars, because they didn’t have Disney songs in the karaoke catalog. And it’s, like, these are the only songs I really knew.

You moved to Vegas in 2002, and your first break was working in “Star Trek: The Experience.” What was that like?

At the time, “The Klingon Encounter” was going on, so the actors would play multiple roles, from Star Fleet to the janitor. … We were just living our dreams, being paid actors. That was my first real job as a paid actor.

What came next?

Through a good period of, I would say, seven or eight years after “Star Trek” — of being an usher for Blue Man Group, “Phantom of the Opera,” The Beatles’ “Love” — I was never living my potential. I got the chance to still be, in a way, slightly part of the experience, to see these amazing shows. But every one of those shows, I always had that desire and dream of wanting to be on stage.

How did it feel to finally act on the Strip, when “Evil Dead: The Musical” moved from community theater to Planet Hollywood?

That was a huge dream come true for me, after all those years being an usher on the Strip in these big spectacles, to take a local theater show and believe that it had the possibility of making it.

Is being a working actor in Las Vegas as hard as I imagine?

Yes and no. I would say being a working actor making a living at it in Vegas is nearly next to impossible, unless you’re one of the few actors that’s working in a show on the Strip. Then for the most you’re making money. If you’re in a Cirque du Soleil show, of course you’re making a living. … Really, for the general part of my 16 years living in Vegas, I’ve always worked two jobs. I was working three jobs at one point, going from concierge (at Aria) to Bally’s for “Divorce Party: The Musical” to “Evil Dead” at 11:30, midnight, and then starting all over again. You can make a living. It’s kind of like a puzzle, if you kind of find the space and piece it all together.

In the past three years, you’ve made 40-something movies in Vegas.

With the streaming services being the way that they are, more and more filmmakers are finding it possible to create, to make a movie, to take their story, their imagination and say that it is possible, that anything is possible. The tools and the outlets are there for us. It’s just having the courage and the drive to say, “Yes. I’m going to make this happen.”

And what made you want to turn some of those movies’ premieres into charity events?

There’s movie premieres every once in a while that pop up with short films and features and film festivals and such, but never really anything to connect it to local charitable organizations. … Why just have another regular movie premiere and be done with it and move onward when you can just really stand out and be something bigger and hopefully instill and inspire others to follow suit?

Getting to know: Ben Stobber

Favorite movie?

“Ben-Hur. It’s the classic epitome of an epic that we really don’t see so much anymore in Hollywood — a film that has scope and romance and drama and faith and humor and action. … A close second place would be Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid.’ ”

Favorite thing about living in Las Vegas?

“There’s always something to do every hour of the day, whether you are going to see a movie or go hiking up at Red Rock or bowling at 2 or 3 a.m. and getting a burger and hitting up some slot machines.”

The last show you attended?

“‘Masters of Illusions’ at Bally’s has five incredibly talented magicians with a lot of great energy and variety. There are so many acts that I’d never seen before that just took my breath away.”

TV show you’re currently obsessed with?

“‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ on Amazon Prime is funny, so witty and cleverly written.”


“My entire house is a museum of collectibles … Disney snowglobes and movie posters.”

Contact Christopher Lawrence at or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

Spring Preserve kicks off its Holiday Express
Springs Preserve hosts its Holiday Express, which includes a train ride, visits with Santa, SNOW, and a village winter wonderland.
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like