Archive | Stage Dad

Five and a half years ago, my little boy Ben was dancing in the basement of a woman’s house in Maryland, showing off his gymnastics moves, taps and splits. That little boy is now a teen, getting ready to fly back from Los Angeles to New York, where he will train for the role he’s pursued since 2008 – the title part on the national tour of “Billy Elliot.” For the past three years, I’ve written about Ben’s career (and you can read it in my website ) in an attempt to process what has taken place in our lives. Joel very graciously asked me to share some of those stories with his audience.

'Stage Dad' illustration by Judy Stadt.

Stage Dad: ‘Talking to Other Parents’: Part Two: ‘What Other Parents Wish They Had Known’ by Glenn Cook

What Other Parents Wish They Had Known… One of my favorite television shows is Friday Night Lights, a beautifully written, small-scale drama that focuses on a small Texas town and its obsession with high school football. The show’s overarching theme is “Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose” – a motto that all parents should adopt […]

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John and Olivia Cook. Photo courtesy of Glenn Cook.

Stage Dad: ‘A Better Dad Now’ by Glenn Cook

I became a better father when my dad died. It was five years ago this past week – a lifetime in many respects. Dad had been ill for some time, thanks to a slightly toxic gene pool that forced him to fight a variety of physical maladies for years. My mom spent most of my […]

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Jace Parker directing the cast of 'Mindset.' Photo by Shelly Han.

Stage Dad: ‘Jace Casey: Finding a ‘Mindset’ at The Capital Fringe Festival’ by Glenn Cook

For teen performer, escaping the ‘dead zone’ requires a certain ‘Mindset’ Many child actors who start their professional careers in the Washington, D.C., area take the same path that my son did, performing in Ford’s Theatre’s A Christmas Carol. A Christmas Carol, like most shows, has a window of time for child performers. Ford’s, for […]

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(l-r) Joel Blum as George and Ben Cook as Michael. Photo by Kyle Froman..

Stage Dad: ‘Ben Finally Plays Billy’ by Glenn Cook

Child actors face an inevitable reality – growing up. And that inevitable reality means they likely will be out of a job. Think about it: Have you ever wondered why people obviously in their 20s or 30s were playing teens on a movie or your favorite TV show? Close your eyes for a moment, watch […]

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The Cook Kids: Back: Emma and Ben. Front: Nicholas and Katherine.

Stage Dad: ‘Four Kids: Four Stars’ by Glenn Cook

It’s still somewhat difficult to fathom that I’m the parent of a college student and, in a few months, three high school students. Somewhere along the line, I blinked, and they grew up. My son, Nicholas, finished his first year of college in May in North Carolina. My daughter Kate will be a sophomore at […]

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Illustration by Judy Stadt.

Stage Dad: “What I Wish I Had Known…” by Glenn Cook

Occasionally, I get questions from others whose children are interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts. Usually, they want to know how to pursue an agent or manager, and what they should expect. Often I will point them to the BizParentz Foundation, a California-based nonprofit that provides “education, advocacy, and charitable support to parents […]

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a billy poster

Stage Dad: ‘A Lesson From Dance’ by Glenn Cook

Like many parents with school-age children, a standing feature on many of our Saturdays is toting the kids to various lessons. For all of our kids, those precious weekend hours have revolved around one place: a dance studio in Northern Virginia. Metropolitan Fine Arts Center, or MFAC as it is known, is a non-competitive dance […]

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'Stage Dad' illustration by Judy Stadt.

Stage Dad: ‘A Triathlon in Chunks’ by Glenn Cook

Being the parent of a professional child actor has a lot in common with triathlons. Sometimes you run, sometimes you spin around in circles, and sometimes you work heroically just to keep your head above water. Take today for example. It’s just 10 a.m., and already it’s been a long morning. I’m sitting on the […]

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Stage Dad: ‘Three Simple Rules’ by Glenn Cook

Everyone has heard horrible stories about stage parents. Reality shows paint the worst pictures in vivid, cable-ready HD. Tabloids are littered with tales of the Lindsays, the Brittanys, the Mileys, the Gary Colemans, and other assorted child actors/personalities whose lives became train wrecks. Somewhere along the way, egos explode and lines get crossed. Advocates become […]

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On the road with 'Billy Elliot' in Cincinnati.

My New Column ‘Stage Dad’ by Glenn Cook

“I saw my sis go pitter pat. Said I can do that. I can do that.” Five and a half years ago, my little boy Ben was dancing in the basement of a woman’s house in Maryland, showing off his gymnastics moves, taps and splits. Afterward, he answered a few questions from the woman we […]

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