Friday, August 10, 2012

Spotlight On...Lilli Cooper

Name: Lilli Cooper

Hometown: Manhattan, New York

Education: Studied Drama at LaGuardia Arts High School in New York City, Screenwriting and Directing at the Prague Film School in Prague, Czech Republic and Film studies at Vassar College

Select Credits: Spring Awakening (Martha, Original Broadway Cast, Cast Recording) Favorite credits include Hair, Godspell, Reasons to Be Pretty, Skin of Our Teeth and of course Independents!

Why theater?: Growing up in a performing family and being raised in the theater district made it sort of hard to avoid. Both of my older brothers and I all went to LaGuardia High School for Performing Arts where we majored in Drama. Both of my parents were at some point or are still actors and since I was a kid I basically grew up backstage at all my father’s shows, on and off Broadway. It’s in my blood but it’s also something I can’t live without. When you know you wouldn’t really enjoy doing anything else, that’s sort of the way to go.

Tell us about Independents: The title perfectly describes the show, both literally and ironically. It is the story of a young group of friends attempting to lead a lifestyle of individualism and freedom, but without a true idea of who they are or where they’re going. They begin to discover what their lives are missing as the show progresses, and through a series of hilarious moments and devastating consequences they learn the importance of maturity, responsibility and independence.

What is it like being a part of Independents?: A blast! It’s a wonderful experience being around the same age as both the cast and the creative team. I always love being a part of new work. It’s rare to be able to grow and change along with your character, and to witness the changes that a piece takes on from day to day.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: One of the fundamental aspects of theater is story telling, which I think is such an important part of development as a child up until adulthood. I’m drawn to the type of theater that attracts a specific kind of audience who can personally relate to the story it tells. The most powerful theatrical experiences I’ve had are not necessarily when I can parallel my life with what is happening on stage, but when the story can affect me and the other audience members in some way that sticks with us once we leave the theater.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Most recently Sarah in Ragtime, and Nabulungi in Book of Mormon. Some crazier ones are the Witch in Into the Woods and Blanche in Streetcar

What’s your favorite showtune?: “No One Is Alone” from Into the Woods

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
Audra McDonald!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Raven Symone…“That’s so Lilli”

What show have you recommended to your friends?:
Recently, I haven’t seen much that I’ve been crazy about, but I’m dying to see Clybourne Park, Once, and One Man Two Guvnors.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:
The Real Housewives….

What’s the best advice you can give someone trying to make it in theater?: There is never an end to learning and getting better at what we do, so take classes, workshops, see shows, even the bad ones! Anything you can do to expose yourself to everything there is out there, and there is a lot. Knowing what you don’t like to watch or do will help you get that much closer to what you do like.  

What’s up next?:
Living the dream of a starving artist, auditioning in New York, what could be better?! But keep an eye out for some upcoming concerts with some great friends and possibly a few family members. Follow me on Twitter! @LilliCooper

For more on Independents, visit