Benny Zielke 1
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Benny Zielke 2
  • On-Camera
  • Theatrical

  • 5'6"
  • He/Him/His/They/Them
  • Non-binary, transmasculine
  • Local hire: Los Angeles, CA

Benny Zielke (he/they) was born and raised in Champaign, IL. They grew up steeped in the world of music and theatre, singing in choirs and as a soloist since they were eight, playing oboe from the age of ten, and playing guitar since they were sixteen. He also cultivated a deep love for writing novels, plays, and music. But he found his calling through acting and graduated high school with more than fifty productions under his belt. They headed off to Millikin University to pursue a BFA in Acting at a school where they could also cultivate their love of music, writing, and film.

At Millikin, Benny pursued a minor in music, singing in their nationally-ranked choir and playing oboe in the school wind ensemble. They also received extensive acting training in Stanislavski, Meisner, Margolis, dialects, stage combat, voice, and movement. He received two years of dance training in tap, ballet, jazz, and modern. Their credits at Millikin include Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, Vera in She Kills Monsters, Perdita in The Winter’s Tale, and a swing in the world premiere play Miss Me by Paul Shoulberg.

Millikin University also allowed Benny a platform to hone their directing and writing skills. For one year, he ran the Millikin Independent Project Series and produced several cabarets, original song cycles of their own music, and original staged readings. And for two years, he started and ran 1901 Productions, a student-run film company that produced several original short films and an original feature film under his leadership. Through 1901 Productions, Benny discovered their love and talent for filmmaking and decided to pursue a career in acting, writing, and directing. Their success with 1901 led them to write, direct, produce, and star in a five episode web series, Method. Other writing and directing credits include Sonder: An Anthology of Loss (director/writer/line producer), tick, tick…BOOM! (director), Dissociate (director), Glitch (writer), and Nice Guy (writer).

They recently made the move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting, writing, directing, and music. He has several finished manuscripts, feature films, and pilots seeking literary representation and production. Their feature film Benvolio & Mercutio—a survivalist retelling of Romeo and Juliet focused on the romance between the queer, fun-loving side characters—is in development with plans to go into production in early 2024. His recent LA credits include writing and directing the short film Body Double, and starring in the short film High School Dies Hard, a Starrah music video, and Ulta’s collaboration with Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Benny is managed by Transgender Talent, and as a trans, non-binary, and all-around queer artist, nothing is more important to them than providing much-needed representation and positive change through their art.