Eean Cochran is taking a break from his Hamilton tour to share his story and skills with theatre students on Friday.
“Dawne [Meeks] helped guide me and my career paths,” Cochran said. “I’m grateful to her. It’s really important to me to keep connecting with her no matter where I am. To come back and for her to ask me back is a pretty big deal, I kinda see her as a theater mom.”
Meeks, theatre department chair, said she has always been impressed with his work and talent.
“Eean is a true triple threat,” Meeks said. “I have always been so incredibly impressed by his work ethic and his talent but more importantly by the way he is led by his faith in Christ. He truly is a light to everyone he meets. We are so proud of him and so very honored by his return to ACU for this lights up event.”
He is performing for the Lights Up! Fundraising Cabaret at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature from 7:30-9 p.m. Admission is $40.
The fundraiser will help the department fund more opportunities for theater students to attend auditions, bring in more guest artists and other activities that will help the department grow.
Cochran is an ACU alumnus who is currently a swing male ensemble role in the Phillip Tour of Hamilton. He knows six roles and said he is ready to dance onto the stage whenever he is needed.
“I’m hanging out backstage until one of the six guys I know their track gets sick or injured I step in immediately or one of the other swings that are backstage,” Cochran said. “It can be a little crazy in the head to have six or seven people in your head and step in and be that person for three and a half hours in a pretty intense show. But I think it’s fun, it’s a nice little challenge.”
Cochran said he grew up around music. His grandfather was a Baptist preacher who would sing before he would preach and his dad along with his three brothers sang a quartet. At the fundraiser, Cochran will perform a song with his dad.
The first musical he participated in, Cochran was the lead, Gideon, in his schools’ fourth-grade production of “Giddyup, Giddalong Gideon.”
“I had this solo called ‘Give Me A Sign’ and my mom doesn’t like that song because I just would wail it around the house,” Cochran said. “I think that’s what kind of started my musical theater bug. Because I was like clearly they think I’m good, I want to be really good so I’m just going to practice as much as possible and make myself really great.”
He continued to audition for school musicals and got a role in the Sound of Music. Football became a rival for his time in high school, but his theater director sat him down and told him he had a future in musicals and pushed him to continue to audition and take dance.
ACU scouts came to one of his school productions and told him to audition with the university. At first, he was hesitant but soon fell in love with ACU’s theater department.
“I was more the dancer at ACU, I didn’t really trust my singing voice much until working with Jeannette Lipford. She’s the sweetest lady and that’s what kind of got me to audition for tours that took me away from ACU while I was still a sophomore and junior.”
Cochran said he was still in shock that the new dance major went from being called choreography to becoming a major, and said he can’t wait to see where it goes.
Though Cochran’s entire senior year was spent touring with “Bring It On”, he said he is excited to come back to ACU and share all that he has learned at the fundraiser.
“I get to come back and talk about my experience, tell stories about my ACU time and going on tour,” Cochran said. “In between speeches I get to sing certain songs I used to audition for ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Bring It On’. It will be a fun night for sure.”