Kevin Ray Johnson
Let me tell you something. I played the Spring Awakening Soundtrack to death when I was in college. Lilli Cooper’s voice and all-around talent is one I have known for a very long time. For her to accomplish everything she has at this point in her young life, is inspiring and amazing. Lilli is currently starring as Sandy Cheeks in The SpongeBob SquarePants Broadway Musical which was nominated for 12 Tony Awards including Best Musical. It was also recently announced that she will be starring as Julie Nichols in the upcoming Broadway-Bound Musical Tootsie which will feature a score by Tony Award-winning composer David Yazbek.
The sky is the limit for this young lady.
I feel it is truly in her DNA, coming from a family of very talented performers (Her father is Tony Award Winning Actor Chuck Cooper). Growing up with a family of performers was dramatic and extremely fun for Lilli, "I grew up immersed in the theater," she said. "I’ve been listening to cast albums that my mother introduced me to ever since I was a kid. And it’s always so nice to be able to commiserate with one another and understand each other’s careers on a deeper level”.
She found her passion in middle school, “I was extremely shy as a kid so even though I always knew on the inside, it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I built up the courage to perform. My first show was Godspell in 8th grade, and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
If you haven’t seen SpongeBob Squarepants, you are truly missing out. It is such a fun show to watch, and the cast looks like they are having a blast on stage. It is by far one of the most unique shows I have seen recently. So my curiosity was at an all-time high with her experience in the show. She stated, “My time in SpongeBob has been most similar to the feeling of playing on a jungle gym with your best friends. It is joyous, creative, exhausting and so fulfilling.” She also added, “My favorite moment in the show is when SpongeBob and Sandy get to watch Patrick and the entire ensemble sing Super Sea Star Savior.”
Other credits for Lilli include being apart of the original cast of Spring Awakening, playing Elphaba in Wicked as well as The Great Comet (A.R.T.) and The Threepenny Opera at Atlantic Theater just to name a few. With all the amazing opportunities she has had, I was wondering if any experience stood out for her. Lilli stated that “Spring Awakening will always be near and dear to my heart. I feel like I really grew into a person in that show. I also loved playing several different roles in the Off-Broadway revival of Tick, Tick...Boom! That show really flexed my acting chops in the best way.”
Lilli Cooper is a proud alum of LaGuardia Arts High School and Vassar College and had a lot of wonderful teachers and mentors to help her along the way. “My high school drama teacher Harry Shifman was a huge support when I was doing spring awakening in high school.”
She is definitely someone you can and should be inspired by if you are a young performer trying to find your way in this business. Her grind and hard work have truly paid off, and she’s only getting started. My final question for Lilli was what advice would she give any young performers who want to get into the business, and she said “Be gracious, kind, and humble. Always continue to study and grow. And say yes to things that scare you.”
To learn more about very talented actress or any other her current or upcoming projects you can visit – www.lillicooper.com