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Mackel scores with music of 'Billy. Goat. Gruff.'

A 2000 graduate of Hendersonville High School and Flat Rock Playhouse YouTheatre alumnus has added a notch on his Broadway resume this month.

Ben Mackel is composer of the music for "Billy, Goat, Gruff: The Musical" and is working as music director for the Broadway debut of the children's show.
Mackel, described in a playbill as an actor/singer/dancer/composer/multi-instrumentalists/songwriter, holds a BFA in musical theatre from Catawba College in Salisbury. He is the son of Dr. David Mackel, an orthopedic surgeon here and Ellie Ray.
Mackel spent eight years as a resident actor and composer at Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va.
"He grew up at the Playhouse pretty much from the time he was about 6," Ray said. "He did a lot of productions out there and just kept going."
Mackel has been living in New York for about a year, auditioning for stage roles.
"That's his main thing," she said, "but he's written a few plays and is excited to get one produced."
"Billy, Goat, Gruff" was performed by YouTheatre actors at Flat Rock in 2008. It will debut Friday, April 19, for a 17-day run at the New Theater at 45th Street in collaboration with the New York Music/Theatre Project.
"This imaginative re-telling of a classic tale follows the story of three goat brothers: Billy, Goat & Gruff," the show's website says. "Trying to find their way in an increasingly dangerous world, the brothers must look within themselves to find a way to survive with only the memory of their mother and the spirit of their ancestors as guidance."
Mackel joins a list of recent YouTheatre alumni who have made their mark performing on a national scale, including the acclaimed choreographer Chase Brock, who attended West Henderson High School, and Turner Rouse Jr., a cast member of the Green Day musical "American Idiot" and 2008 HHS graduate.