Tony Nominee Lilli Cooper on How to Survive & Thrive on Broadway

Photo Source: Mark Stinson

“In the Envelope: An Awards Podcast” features intimate interviews with award-winning actors and other creatives. Join host and Awards Editor Jack Smart for a front row seat to the industry’s most exciting awards races, and valuable acting and career advice from contenders!

Born with a stage-ready name and raised in the New York City theater community, Lilli Cooper became a Broadway star at age 16 in the original cast of the award-winning musical phenomenon “Spring Awakening.” After attending LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, then opting for a liberal arts education at Vassar College, she continued working on tour and Off-Broadway, in “Wicked,” “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” and “Tick, Tick... Boom!” Last season, she played Sandy Cheeks in “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical.”

Cooper is now nominated for her first Tony Award in David Yazbek and Robert Horn’s musical adaptation of the classic film “Tootsie,” as working actor Julie Nichols, the role that won Jessica Lange an Oscar. She joins Backstage’s “In the Envelope” for a frank conversation about surviving eight Broadway shows a week, how she and her Tony-winning father, Chuck Cooper, feel about awards, and the blood, sweat, and tears that theater requires (literally—her co-star Santino Fontana once got blood in her ear).

Her best advice for actors and artists? Be honest with yourself. “If you’re better at one thing and you need work on another thing, then actively pursue working on that thing to get better, or if you’re a certain type and you want to break out of that type then try to transcend boundaries,” Cooper says. For more words of wisdom, check out her exclusive podcast interview.

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Jack Smart
Jack Smart is the awards editor at Backstage, where he covers all things Emmy, SAG, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also produces and hosts Backstage’s awards podcast “In the Envelope” and has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.
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