After dancing for seven hours in a studio, the group of 30 candidates for the role had been cut down to just five. Eean Cochran, a 2015 graduate, was one of five dancers still in the running for a part in Hamilton, but he had already been rejected twice for a part in the Tony Award-winning musical.
This time he got called back for a second audition, an hour one-on-one session with the show’s choreographer.
A few weeks after the audition, he was offered a swing role in the show. As a swing performer, Cochran learns dances for six different roles to cover the actors if they get sick or injured.
“It’s cool to be part of something that is helping musical theatre, and it’s different,” Cochran said.
With its blend of hip hop and traditional musical styles, Hamilton was a “dream” show for Cochran, who performed in Sanctify during his time in college. He also served as a choreographer for Sing Song with Gamma Sigma Phi.
Cochran graduated in five years with a bachelor of fine arts in musical theatre because he left campus several times to do the Broadway tours of Mamma Mia and Dream Girls.
“The department was very understanding, and they let me go twice,” Cochran said.
When he returned to campus his senior year, Dawne Meeks, chair of the Department of Theatre, asked him to help choreograph the Homecoming musical. Meeks allowed him to choreograph one number in the department’s performance of Footloose, and he did such a good job that she asked him to help choreograph Big Fish in 2014.
“Everything he does, he just has such a spirit and a million dollar smile,” Meeks said. “It’s so cool when you’ve had the pleasure and honor of getting to instruct such a hard worker.”
Meeks said the department has stayed connected to Cochran since he graduated, and the faculty are proud of him as he starts work on Hamilton.