Eean Cochran: From ACU to Broadway

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Emma Groves, Staff Writer

Eean Cochran, a flourishing Broadway performer, first found his love for the theater through seeing his own dad and uncles on stage. Through this, he felt a “connection” to the stage.

    “I moved to Texas in the fourth grade and did my first musical,” states Cochran.

    He played the lead role, Gideon. It was through this role that his mother saw he had “a little bug” for the theater as he’d walk around the house singing his part and rehearsing day and night. Although he loved the musical, he chose to participate in football afterwards.

   In high school, he broke his arm playing football and through this, he reconnected with the theater. His high school was performing On Broadway at the time. He decided to audition and sound up with a singing solo in the play.

   “I didn’t realize there were ACU recruiters in the audience, but I talked to them after and they asked me to audition,” Cochran said. “I was like ‘yeah, definitely,’ but I wasn’t really thinking about doing this in the future as a career.”

Cochran still booked a tour to ACU and fell in love with campus. His love for dancing gave him an advantage towards the musical spectrum that he’d be performing in at ACU, but his uncertainty with his vocal abilities outweighed the advantage. He had only sung at church a handful of times and a few minor high school musicals. After seeing the musical Shrek and relating to one of the characters, Cochran drew inspiration and made this character, the donkey, his own.

After his role in Shrek, he returned to ACU and booked his first tour as a sophomore. While he did not feel as though he was ready, he toured for four months before performing in Bring it On. He toured with the musical for nine months combing different dancing styles to produce the splendor of Bring it On. Through Bring it On, Cochran got to work with his “favorite” choreographer Andy Blakenbuehler. He had previously seen a show he did earlier, In the Heights, and was in awe of what Blakenbuehler was communicating through dance. The monotonous hours that he poured into the choreography instructed by Blakenbuehler shaped his perseverance and overall strength as a dancer.

As his senior year at ACU began to close, he performed in Mama Mia. Once his time in Mama Mia ended, he packed his bags and moved to New York. He then began his next musical, A Bronx Tale: The Musical, performing as a swing.

“Part of being a swing,” Cochran states,”is sitting off stage covering one or two or more people on stage, or covering larger parts if the performers are sick or just don’t feel like doing the show.”

He toured with A Bronx Tale for three months before receiving a call to be a part of The Wiz. He performed in The Wiz two days a week for the next six months in Oregon.

“I was like why here? Why now? Why this long?” Cochran says.”But overall, I learned how to keep things new, keep things fresh, with every performance. I came back to New York and was like ‘now I’m going on Broadway,’ but I didn’t.”

He auditioned for Aladdin for a week before being told that he didn’t make the last cut. However, the producers told him to come in the following day where the studio would be holding auditions for Freaky Friday. At first reluctant to audition for Freaky Friday, he returned the following day for auditions. He got the part and was able to spend time with his family as the musical was doing a small tour through Texas. While touring with Freaky Friday, Cochran was still able to audition for other musicals such as Kinky Boots.

“I was in the final callbacks again and again, but I never got the part,” Cochran says.

Once Freaky Friday ended, he returned to New York only to leave once more to perform in Newsies which is based in Chicago. Although he was excited for another opportunity, he was mostly disappointed over not getting cast in the first tour of Hamilton.

“I felt like this was definitely my show,” Cochran says. “I knew the choreographer, I used to work with him, he’s definitely going to cast me, but it was a no.”

Cochran auditioned six times over a span of two years but to no avail. Losing hope of his Hamilton dreams, he kept packing for Newsies, but upon receiving a call from his agent, he decided to audition one last time before heading off to Chicago for Newsies. He made the first three cuts until only five dancers remained.

“They were like ‘Great, can you guys come in next Tuesday?’ I was like ‘No I can’t, I have to go perform Newsies. If you guys want me like, tell me now.’ She said that they really needed to see everyone on Tuesday, so I was like ‘great’ and went home.”

He returned home, disheartened, but soon received an email asking him to come back in the following morning to do a one-on-one session. He was taught another cut and was told that it was rare that they did this but they really needed two strong dancers, so he was going to be judged harshly. He ended up getting cast but would not be performing in Hamilton until December and at that point, it was still October. With two months to burn, Cochran decided to perform in Newsies until December. Finally, December came, and he began his tour with Hamilton.

“They give you one person to look at because with Hamilton, there are thirty people on stage on two rotating turn tables moving in succession, and you have to know where that person is, who’s to the left and right of that person, and six tracks later, I’m like,’I think I know it…?'” says Cochran.

Cochran is now swinger in Hamilton and plays up to seven roles per show. He views each chance on stage as his “one time to connect to character,” and while his time on stage can be fleeting, he’s “not gonna throw away his shot.”