This is Hammer, Ben's new shelter dog who has been visiting with us for the past two weeks while the boy works on a project. Incredibly cute and sweet, Hammer also is the subject of quite a few photos and (bottom center) even a few selfies. We'll miss him when he goes back to New York with Ben after Christmas.
Currently showing posts tagged Ben
A fun weekend, complete with a several state tour is ahead to watch our twins in their natural habitat: The stage.
Today, we drive from VIrginia to Pittsburgh to watch Emma dance in a show at Point Park. Then, tomorrow, we head to Manhattan, where we'll see HBO's "Paterno" with Ben and his friends, and then stick around Sunday for the "Mean Girls" opening night show/activities.
Looking forward to it!!
The promotional ramp up to the Mean Girls opening has been in full swing this week with the release of production photos as well as the video "B-roll" for the show. (Shhh... I think it’s gonna be a hit.)
First, here is one of the promotional photos, given the boy’s attested love for math during his K-12 years, is proof that he’s a fine actor. The photo, by Joan Marcus, appeared on Playbill.com today.
And here is the B-roll. Hope you enjoy it.
And in other news, this announcement also came out today. Very proud of Ben, who has been cast in the Broadway-bound "Mean Girls," written by Tina Fey and produced by Lorne Michaels. The show opens on Oct. 31 at The National Theatre in Washington, D.C., with a run planned for New York in the spring.
My son, Ben, is performing tonight and Saturday as "Older Billy" in a special guest appearance as part of Wheelock Family Theatre's regional production of "Billy Elliot: The Musical."
I went to Boston during Thursday's blizzard to spend time with my 19-year-old and took a few shots at this morning's rehearsal with Seth Judice, who is playing the title role.
With appearances in "Law & Order: SVU" and the "Newsies" movie next week, the boy is well on his way to an adult career. But for a brief time at least, it's nice to see Ben return to the show that dominated much of his childhood.
Bonus photos: I took the photo below of Ben and Salma Hayek after she saw the show in Boston during the national tour in 2012. Right: Caught this picture of the boy with the “Newsies” poster during a lunch break today in Boston.
Jill has long kidded that Ben would be a legitimate actor when he appears on an episode of "Law and Order." Well, at the end of tonight's episode, we finally got confirmation that next Wednesday is the date. (Check your local listings for air times.)
In just under the wire, here's a video I made 7 years ago to commemorate Ben's Broadway debut in Ragtime. Ahh, the memories.
I’ve been fortunate to know Zach Manske and his family for the past five years, ever since he and our son, Ben, shared the title role in the national tour of “Billy Elliot: The Musical.” Zach, who lives in Woodbury, Minn., was named “2016 National Senior Male Outstanding Dancer” last month by the New York City Dance Alliance.
A couple of weeks ago, Zach was completing a summer intensive at Julliard when I had the long-awaited opportunity to take his headshots and add to my “Art & Dance” portfolio. Ben, who is auditioning in New York, came along for the shoot, which took place in front of Lincoln Center and at Central Park.
As you might expect when you have not one, but two excellent dancers, the shoot was great fun. But the best part of the day was seeing these two young men, who became friends during a high pressure and intense time as kids, pick up right where they left off, urging each other on and enjoying a chance to perform.
For more photos, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/new-york-zach--ben.
The boy is returning to the role of Race for a filmed version of “Newsies” that will feature original Broadway cast members Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Ben Fankhauser and Andrew Keenan-Bulger.
Part of a joint effort between Disney Theatrical Productions and Fathom Events, the stage show will be filmed in Los Angeles in early September, with a one-night-only performance on Sept. 11 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. The movie version will arrive in cinemas worldwide in early 2017.
Pretty cool if you ask me.
Our last child graduated from high school today as Ben finished the online program he's been in for the past two years. Since there was no formal ceremony — just sighs of relief from parents, relatives, friends, casual acquaintances and others — I decided to post his other "graduation" photo. (Kindergarten, 2004)
Congrats, Ben! We are proud of you!
Need some headshots? Check out these, taken of Ben during a session in New York City earlier this month. The photos are up at http://glenncook.virb.com/ben-2016.
Ben is featured in a wide-ranging interview on Broadway World, looking ahead to “Tuck Everlasting” and back at “Newsies.” In some ways, our high school senior is starting to sound like the theatre veteran that he is.
• The hardest part of performing professionally at such a young age was definitely being away from my family. I moved to New York when I was eleven and my parents had to switch off taking care of me until we could find a permanent solution. And being on the road [with “Billy Elliot”] when I was 13, and then once again when I was 16 with “Newsies”, was really hard. I was on my own, away from my family, and barely ever got to see them.
• I would say the hardest thing I've had to learn is that your body is not indestructible. I remember when I was younger, I wouldn't stretch very often and would go from zero to a hundred without really thinking about it. And that's okay when you're really young, but the older you get, the more your body needs to be taken care of. I remember I suffered a heel injury when I was in “Billy Elliot” and was out of the show for about four months, and that was really hard; I never stretched and that was definitely a wake up call for me, having to make sure I kept my body warmed up and healthy.
• In this business, unfortunately, there are hundreds of no's to one yes, and it can be really hard. But if you know this is what you want to do with your life, never give up. I know, personally, it's something I have always had a passion for and have longed to do, and everyone in this business is in it, not for the job security or the paycheck, but because it's what they love.
The boy is growing up. To see the rest of the interview by Gianluca Russo, click on the link here.
Ben played the principal role of Michael during Billy Elliot's 1,000th show on Broadway this week. Unfortunately, I was traveling from New York to San Francisco, but my mom and nephew, Eric, were there to see the performance. Photos are by Broadway World and Playbill.
Congratulations to everyone involved with the show, which has been running on Broadway for almost three years.
A big congratulations to Ben on his debut as Michael today in Billy Elliot. Son, you were great, and we hope you get to perform the role again soon. Thanks to everyone who attended and those who sent kind comments — it was fantastic!
Ben is a kid who doesn’t like to eat any food that hasn’t been processed at least twice, which turns every adventure with any natural product that is green in origin into a standup comedy routine. At 13, he’s getting better (or at least acknowledging) that eating fruit is good for you, but vegetables remain another story.
Between shows recently, he was bribed (or shamed, depending on how you look at it) into eating a piece of lettuce, a cucumber, and a tomato. Asked whether he wanted dressing (aka sauce) to go with it, he asked his friend Neil, “What is sauce?”
These pictures show my son performing his own version of dinner theater, And by the way, he ate 2 out of 3, but the chickpea-for-tomato trade went nowhere.
Ben's episode of 30 Rock aired last night and the boy did an admirable job, uttering the word "orgasm" in his one-minute flashback scene — filmed in black and white — as the Alec Baldwin character.
Here's a nice surprise: Ben is featured in the November issue of Northern Virginia Magazine, with a full page photo that I took, no less. The story looks at his relationship with Metropolitan Fine Arts Center, where he has danced for years.
Ben is used to performing, so serving as an understudy was a bit of a challenge at first when he started work on Ragtime at the Kennedy Center several months ago.
Also, given that he is in fifth grade, he had to do something to show his teachers at Lorton Station what he was learning during the experience. So why not combine the two?
The result is this 17-minute video, which includes audio interviews Ben did with members of the cast of "Ragtime." The interviews are accompanied by stills from the show. Special thanks to Eric Jordan Young, Quentin Earl Darrington, Bobby Steggert, Sumayya Ali, Dan Manning, and Manoel Felciano for participating.
(Also, look for video at the end of Ben dancing with Chita Rivera...!)
Nicholas and Ben were reunited this week in New York as they prepare to go out on the road for the three weeks leading up to the latter's debut as Billy later this month. It's a good opportunity for the two, who don't get to see each other often, to bond during what surely will be a stressful time of tech work and put ins.
BTW: This one of my favorite pictures of the two of them together...
I've been fortunate to travel quite a bit over the past few months with Ben on the "Newsies" tour. Every once in a while, I get to mix business with pleasure. Above are new headshots I took of the boy during a break between shows last weekend in Durham. For more, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/ben2015.
Josh Burrage is one of Ben's closest friends on the tour. He hired me to take new headshots during the tour's stop in San Antonio last month. For more photos, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/josh.
Ben, my son, and his friend Josh went out on a photo excursion last week in cold, frigid Charlotte. I managed to capture several nice images of two outstanding teen dancers.
Newsies review from Around the Town Chicago: "This is an ensemble show where the dancers and the work they do ... is mind-blowing. It is hard to believe that they can do so much and still sing and say their lines. These dancers are: Benjamin Cook, Sky Flaherty, Jordan Samuels, DeMarius R. Copes, Julian DeGuzman, Jeff Heimbrock, Nico DeJesus and Jack Sippel. WOW!"
Chance encounter: Ben and I went to a tribute to Terrence McNally in New York a few years ago, hosted by Angela Lansbury with performances by a who's who in New York. I felt lucky to sit high up in the balcony.
Ben, who has been fortunate to perform in two of Terrence's shows (Ragtime and Golden Age), decided to run downstairs and say "Hi" to Terrence and Tom Kirdahy before the show started. Gracious as always, Tom introduced Ben to the woman he was talking to, an older woman with an elegant stature. As I walked down to get my then 12-year-old son to return to our seats, the woman gave him a hug and extended her hand to me.
"She was very nice," Ben said. "She asked me all about acting."
"Do you know who that is?" I asked.
"She said her name was Marian. She said I could call her Marian."
RIP, Marian Seldes. Thank you for being nice to my son.
Ben in mid-air during Footloose — June 2014
Below is a video of stills set to music and highlighting performances from the Saturday show. You can purchase any of the stills at my e-store.
A video focusing on Sunday's show will be posted tomorrow.
Ben was a co-star on the second episode of "Veep," the Emmy Award-winning comedy featuring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. He played Walt, the stepson of the vice president's communications director, Mike (Matt Walsh), who recently married. Kathy Najimy is his mother in the scene, which included another series regular, Timothy Simons (Jonah).
The video is of the scene that aired and a brief snippet that was cut from the episode due to time constraints. The deleted scene is on HBO-GO.
"Veep" films all of its episodes before they start airing, which means Ben will not be featured again this season. This episode, in fact, was filmed last fall outside Baltimore. We hope Ben willl be cast again next year; the show recently was renewed for a fourth season by the pay network.