Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Star-to-Be: Kimberly Akimbo's Justin Cooley

Kimberly Akimbo's Justin Cooley

In a lot of ways, Justin Cooley is already a star. Barely in his 20's, this guy is already a multiple award winner, was the toast of off-Broadway last season, and has an enviable Broadway career. What a great opportunity for theater-lovers everywhere that we get to witness the start of what is bound to be a long, much lauded journey of artistry and fame.

In researching today's article, I found out some interesting facts:
  • He's 1/4 Hawaiian.
  • He fell in love with the stage when he was cast in the ensemble of Hairspray at his Kansas City high school.
  • Unlike Seth in Kimberly Akimbo, he plays the trumpet instead of the tuba.
  • He takes his Nintendo Switch everywhere with him.
  • Among the shows and roles he's appeared in in high school and his hometown area are All Shook Up, Tarzan (Terk), 13 the Musical (Evan), and Anastasia (Dmitry).
  • He collects rocks and crystals, and is an astrology enthusiast.

It was his role in Anastasia that gained him praise and recognition. He won Kansas City's Blue Star Award, which earned him a 2021 Jimmy Award nomination, becoming a Finalist. After high school, he began college in Texas Christian University's musical theater department. Then he was asked to audition for Kimberly Akimbo, and the rest is history. Playing Seth at Atlantic Theater garnered him 2022 nominations from the Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Perhaps the greatest honor Mr. Cooley has received to date is a 2022 Theatre World Award.

I have a feeling there are many more accolades coming his way. Maybe even an award with a silver spinning medal on it... 

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