Ready for the spotlight

Wright State acting major Heather Cooperman competed in prestigious acting competition in New York

Wright State acting major Heather Cooperman competes in prestigious acting competition in New York. (Photo by Erin Pence)

Wright State acting major Heather Cooperman competes in prestigious acting competition in New York. (Photo by Erin Pence)

Many freshmen students come to campus shy and unsure about their career path. But first-year acting major Heather Cooperman came ready to hit the stage after performing in an acting competition in New York last summer.

Growing up in Dublin, Ohio, Cooperman was interested in interior design, but after acting in numerous performances she gained a new interest and passion for theatre.

“I took theatre summer camps for a long time, then I just kept doing it up through middle school and high school, and I’ve never stopped,” she said.

Cooperman has performed in over a dozen performances and enjoys singing jazz and in musicals.

Performing on stage gives her a unique euphoria that can only be experienced in front of an audience. Her favorite moment while performing took place during her senior year when she had one line yet the audience responded heavily with laughter.

“Getting a reaction from them is really rewarding and the energy that you get from them,” she said. “It’s like super incredible.”

Last summer, Cooperman and her family performed “The Flower Stand,” a play written by her father, Robert Cooperman, in the New York New Works Festival at the Times Square Cultural Center.

When she saw “The Flower Stand” performed for the first time by other actors and actresses, she said, “I cried and was so proud of him, and I loved the play, and it was a very emotional moment for me.”

“The Flower Stand” is a “piece about how often we jump to judging people’s motivation,” said Robert Cooperman, an adjunct professor of English and theatre at Ohio University. “It teaches how there is a lot to learn about others.”

“The Flower Stand” runs about 20 minutes and has two characters: Elisa and Mr. Goldberg. Elisa sells flowers on a street corner and questions Mr. Goldberg’s motives in buying a daily bouquet of flowers.

Heather’s brother Matthew provided music for the play. The festival website said 30 to 40 plays were selected from the hundreds submitted. The winner received $500, and all plays were reviewed by theatre professionals.

“We were very honored to be there. It’s a very prestigious company,” Robert Cooperman said. “It was extra special being there with my daughter.”

He hopes that his daughter “surpasses all that I’ve done … and hopes she blossoms and shines.”

This is the first time the Cooperman family traveled and performed together.

“My dad’s been writing plays for a long time, but we’ve never had the chance to perform them,” Cooperman said. “It just so happened that the main character was a girl my age, so it worked out and we made it a family affair.”

Performing in New York “was very nerve-wracking,” Cooperman said. “It was a lot of pressure. But I’m really glad that he entered the competition on a whim. I think it was a really good experience.”

Cooperman looks forward to her time at Wright State. “This was one of my top schools so it was a bonus that I got in,” she said.

As an acting major she is “very excited to see what Wright State can do for me.” She hopes to learn acting techniques, to embrace being out of her comfort zone and work with others effectively and professionally.

When Cooperman is not entertaining a crowd, she enjoys drawing and watching shows like “Sherlock,” “Doctor Who” and “Merlin” on Netflix. One of her acting inspirations is Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock.”

“He puts himself so fully into the roles he plays, and in interviews he is such a nice person and intelligent about the work he does, and the way he inspires me is how I want to inspire others as an actor,” Cooperman said.

She loves not only performing in plays but also watching performances.

“I love going to theatres,” she said. “One show I love is ‘Almost, Maine.’ I did it in high school in my senior year, and I’ve seen it multiples times, and it’s so cute.”

Cooperman has watched many Broadway performances, including “The Little Mermaid” and “Then and Others” with Idina Menzel.

On the side, her family takes cruises for fun. They’ve traveled to Costa Rica, Columbia, Panama, England, France, Scotland, Ireland and other places.

“I’d love to live in London,” Cooperman said. “I love London and would love to perform there.”

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