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The Tony Award Medallion

What Reviewers Are Saying

About Chuck Cooper's Recent Performances ...


"As Wining Boy, Chuck Cooper has landed perhaps the finest role of his already distinguished career. He brings the requisite lived-in, richly felt quality to his performance that can make a supporting character in a Wilson play seem to constitute in himself a fully realized drama. Wining Boy's sly scamming of Lymon, to whom he sells a slick suit that's manifestly several sizes too big, marks the play's comic high point. But Mr. Cooper delivers the haunting monologue about the death of the only woman Wining Boy ever loved with a wondering sadness that brings a quiet hush to the theater. "

by Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, 11/18, 2012

"But it's Wining Boy's mournful blues song of longing and loss --delivered in full voice and with spine-tingling feeling by Cooper -- that keeps the piano where it belongs."

The Piano Lesson, Wining Boy, Signature Theater

by Marilyn Stasio, Variety, 11/18, 2012

"Mr. Cooper makes some fine speeches as Memphis, including a memorable one about the day his mother died."

Two Trains Running, Memphis, Two River Theater Co.

by Anita Gates, The New York Times, 2/22, 2013

"Mr. Cooper brings a quiet gravity to his performance as Stephen. Among the more powerful and musically complex songs in the score is the second-act. Mr. Cooper deploys his rich, resonant baritone with taste and grace. Mr. Cooper sings the title song to moving effect.."

Lost In The Stars, Stephen Kumalo, City Centers Encores

by Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, 2/4, 2011

“Cooper plays Joe with great depth, skillfully enveloping the stage with his presence, even when he is silent. His transformation from an affable, neighborhood patriarch to a seemingly cold-hearted greedy man is completely believable, and the cadence of his speech is musical.”

by Rachel Gallaher, City Arts Magazine, 3/28, 2011

"Chuck Cooper as Stephen Kumalo as the emotionally torn clergyman gives a great performance. He has a thrilling voice and his singing the melodic Lost in the Stars, with backup by the chorus, is an accomplishment of rare beauty, as is his O Tixo, Tixo, Help Me!"

– By William Wolf Wolf Entertainment Guide, 2/11/2011

“The other major newcomer is the massively urbane and strong-voiced Chuck Cooper as the razzle-dazzle lawyer Billy Flynn …”

– Clive Barnes, New York Post

“Cooper’s every entrance is as frightening as death. His power and resonance as a villain can be cheered and booed”

– The New York Times

“Cooper leads the way on the gospel front, with ‘Hold On’ and exhibits the show's greatest vocal acrobatics at the end of "Take On the Road". He also deserves special commendation for his acting throughout … Cooper shows himself to be a gifted actor who brings concentrated depth to his roles.”

– Les Gutman, Curtain Up

“When an actor is as skillful and strongly grounded as Cooper, with a rich singing voice to boot, has an extra string like that to his bow … you’re in the presence of something exceptional that only the American theater – and most often the African American theater – can give you. Leslie Uggams, Cooper … this is a cast of actors who are fine comically or tragically, fresh and energetic and alive in the moment.”

– Michael Feingold, Village Voice

Being Alive
Philadelphia Theatre Company

"Being Alive is blessed by an attractive, all-African-American cast, decked out in pretty pastels and led by Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper. Cooper's rich, resonant voice and jovial manner mark him as the authority figure in the company.”

– Talking Broadway, Tim Dunleavy
Nov 5 2007

Two Trains Running
Old Globe Theatre
"But it's Cooper who's the principal reason to see this production. He's a well-respected Broadway veteran (he landed a Tony for The Life), and he shapes Memphis with magisterial restraint.  Memphis' hurt and anger are revealed gradually, building to a mid-play explosion of outrage that remains one of Wilson's (and American theater's) finest soliloquies..”

– Paul Hodgins, Variety
May 2 2007

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