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ARTIST PROFILE: Holmes ready to take on the lead role in LPHS musical

March 2, 2018
By STEVE LESTER - Correspondent ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID-After starring as Charlie Bucket in Lake Placid High School's production of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" while in seventh grade, Cooper Holmes returns to the stage as the lead male character four years later in the role of Tony in "The Boy Friend."

With "The Boy Friend" being a fairly short show predicted to run less than 90 minutes, Holmes explained that this role isn't nearly as big as the one he played in "Willy Wonka." But he said it's still a fun show with its own set of challenges.

Written by Sandy Wilson, "The Boy Friend" is a 1954 spoof of 1920s musical comedies. The original London production ran for more than 2,000 performances. Holmes, however, will be doing just three shows in the school auditorium beginning March 15.

Article Photos

Cooper Holmes
(Photo provided — Steve Lester)

In between his two starring roles he also took part in "Lucky Stiff," "Xanadu," "Shrek," and the various school plays put on in the fall. He got his original inspiration for theater from watching his half-brother, Dylan Duffy, 11 years his senior, perform in community theater.

"Whatever he did I had to try," he said. "He did theater, so I did theater. He played hockey, so I played hockey.

"True, he's my half-brother, but I will always consider him my brother. He's just a great person. He's funny, he's loveable, and he's very kind to me. He puts so much effort into everything he does. He once played Lumiere in 'Beauty and the Beast,' and he was really, really funny in that role."

Holmes had his first experience in theater at about age 6 which didn't go too well, he said, because he didn't like the costume they put him in.

"It was this flowery outfit with bright pink, yellow and blue all over it. I was like, 'uh-uh.' I had to do all these weird dances too, which is not my thing," he said. "So I took a break from it for a few years until I discovered Camp Rock."

Directed by LPHS vocal teacher Kimberly Weems, Camp Rock is a five-day summer program at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts where students ages 8 to 13 learn to sing along to popular songs.

"I guess you could say Ms. Weems got me back into it," he said. "I started doing it in third grade and got my first solo when I was in fifth. I don't remember the name of it, but it was some Bruno Mars song."

Thanks in part to the vocal training Holmes has received as a member of the school's chorus program, he said he considers his singing to be his strongest asset on the stage.

"I'm able to put a lot of emotion into what I do when I sing," he said. "I once made somebody cry by singing 'Happy Birthday.'"

And the asset that could stand to improve the most?

"Dancing," he said.

But since the school has a band program, Holmes could probably play the saxophone on stage with more skill compared to his dancing ability.

When looking to the future he says he has no concrete plans for colleges but is leaning toward the notion of earning an MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in entrepreneurship. His father, John Holmes, is the president at Riverside Media Sales/Global Media Network, Inc. in Glens Falls. His mother, Colleen Holmes, is a license partner at Engel and Volkers Lake Placid Real Estate.

Holmes describes them as "super supportive of everything."

Next time a Broadway casting director is looking for a hockey player who can move people to tears with his singing in one scene while inspiring them to get up and jitterbug in the next scene as he sits in with the sax section of the Benny Goodman Orchestra, LPHS may have just the man for the job.



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