Billy Cohen Tommy Tune Awards Houston, TX
How did you get into theater?
As a young kid, I was initially only interested in sports, mainly tennis, baseball, basketball, and soccer… However, I was always a theatrical kid, despite my not knowing it. I was known for my tennis court tantrums and my friends loved my impersonations on the basketball court. In middle school, I developed a strong interest in guitar and drums, and I spent most of my time playing in a band and singing along to rock and roll classics, whether it be on Guitar Hero or on my real guitar. This theatrical and musical side of myself was finally brought together in the eighth grade, where I was cast in my school’s production of "Godspell" as Jesus.
What challenges have you had to overcome to get here?
Throughout high school, I was a four-year member of the varsity tennis team, and my senior year, I was captain. Because the musical is right in the thicket of the tennis season, I had to miss more than half of the team’s matches... Some members of the team kind of resented me for “ditching” the team for the musical, but others understood that theater is what I’m really passionate about, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything…
Why is performing important to you?
JFK once said, “I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.” I really think performing in the theater, above all other things, is a contribution to the human spirit. By telling a story and weaving together various character’s personas and problems, actors learn more about themselves in the process and inspire the audience to do the same. By exploring the endless possibilities of the human mind, body, and spirit in the theater, I believe we really discover who we are in the process, and by communicating a storyline to the audience, we urge them to discover their own identities.
Advanced guitar, drums, basic piano, tennis