The Hurrah Players, in a unique partnership with Nauticus, will be presenting Broadway’s tap dancing, musical sensation “Dames At Sea” on the Battleship Wisconsin. The performance will commemorate Battleship Wisconsin’s 75th anniversary July 19-21 and July 26-28 at 8 p.m. For tickets and more info go to www.hurrahplayers.com/buy-tickets.
The musical is a parody of large, flashy 1930s Busby Berkeley-style movie musicals in which Ruby, a wide-eyed, optimistic chorus girl newly arrived off the bus from the Midwest to New York City, steps into a role on Broadway and and becomes a star.
Yiorgo: With us today is local sensation Micah Aaron Cook, who plays Richard “Dick,” an aspiring songwriter and Sailor who is smitten with Ruby and vice-versa. Micah, why should people come out and see “Dames At Sea?”
Micah Aaron Cook: Not only is “Dames at Sea” a vivacious, lively show that features storytelling like “42nd Street,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “An American in Paris,” but this is also a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this amazing play that takes place on a ship performed on an actual ship. It’s the USS Wisconsin, located right here in our own backyard, and it is very humbling and thrilling.
Y: Where were you born and what made you fall in love with musical theatre?
MAC: I was born in Chesapeake but raised in Norfolk. I’ve been involved with musical theatre since I was three to four years old because my mother, Sharon Cook, is a local actress involved in many theatres in Virginia, and specifically Hurrah Players. But what initially connected and sparked me to think “this is definitely what I wanna do and love the most” was a time in the sixth grade when I discovered a YouTube video of Sutton Foster singing “Gimme, Gimme” from “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “I Know it’s Today” from “Shrek the Musical.” That was definitely when I knew I wanted to do it. The vigor she gave in her acting beats and song amazed me and inspired me to be like her until I realized, with specific help from mentors and teachers, that I have my own gift and voice to bring to the table.
Y: How long have you been with the Hurrah Players and what are some of the plays that you have performed with them?
MC: I’ve been with The Hurrah Players since I was three or four – so about 18 or 19 years! I started in the play version of the children’s book, “Amazing Grace,” and have done many shows from “Hairspray” to “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” to “Once on This Island,” and more recently “All Shook Up,” where I played Dennis, a nerdy outcast.
Y: You also attended the Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA). When were you there and what were some of the plays you were involved with?
MC: I was proudly a student with GSA for four years, from 2012-16. Along with the Hurrah Players, GSA is another great program for high school age students who are interested in furthering their steps into a career of professional theatre, musical, visual arts, instrumental arts, dance or film. Hurrah and GSA really did go and do go hand in hand for me. As a student there at GSA, I was still able to do shows over the summer with Hurrah and/or take classes. During my time at GSA, I performed in “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Évita,” “Mary Poppins” (where I discovered my love of Balletic dance), and we even got to perform a short tour in Japan, (2013-14) in four cities, where we performed a live concert of an arrangement of songs of different genres.
Y:What does being in the Hurrah Players means to you and why should other families consider involving their children with them?
MC: Being in the Hurrah Players means to me, “joy to do what you love despite financial means” because the Hurrah Players provide many scholarship programs. Hurrah has taught me to love this art form no matter the monetary value and also that the relationships created during your time at Hurrah last for a lifetime. Other families should consider this place because not only of what I’ve just mentioned but also because it really is a stepping stone and an introduction into professional theatre and a place where one’s love for performing in general can grow.
Y: Tell us about your Gofundme account to attend the camp Musical Theatre Intensive, My Broadway Dreams in New York City. What will it help you accomplish and why should people donate?
MC: Well, I am raising money for my second NYC intensive, but this is my first Broadway Musical Theatre Intensive I’ve ever applied for. It’s a weeklong intensive of classes and lessons to learn more about the business, ourselves, our own skill set and get ready for a showcase of who we are and our God-given talents.
I am so extremely close to reaching my goal and I cannot thank you guys enough and express my gratitude to everyone who has donated.
Supporting artists in general beyond monetary needs is something of value. Because art is life. Art is everywhere and everything. Art is nature. Art is what notifies you of being human and emotional and alive! So why not support art and artists who can bring that to you? Who can inspire you as well to be artistic, no matter the skill or talent. Who can make you cry and give you relief of a burden you’ve been having on your chest or make you feel uncomfortable and question life or why such principles occur in our society, or make you laugh and cry and help to get troubles off your mind.
Art is a dying thing that is becoming a monetization of sorts and being taught less to our younger generations. And art to me is such an important aspect of life. Art is the fulfillment of bettering the next generation of people on this planet. And I don’t just mean entertainment arts such as visual or music but also humanities. Which are a part of arts itself, in my opinion.
So please do yourself a favor and support not only globally and nationally recognized artists but also your local artists in the community. Even those in humanities work. There are so many issues in our world and society, and in order for us to help the change for the better, we all have to start breathing life into this world.
To help Micah get to NYC, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-micah-go-to-nyc.
Yiorgo is a Hampton Roads arts, entertainment and sports writer. A stage, TV and movie actor, he is also an educator, motivational speaker, writer, storyteller and columnist.