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Broadway’s Guide to NYC with Tony Nominee Justin Cooley

Broadway’s Guide to NYC with Tony Nominee Justin Cooley

Nobody knows New York City like a local. Some of the city’s notable locals are also the stars of Broadway’s multitude of fantastic shows. We talked with Tony Award Nominee Justin Cooley, who plays Seth for his debut broadway role in Kimberly Akimbo.

Kimberly Akimbo’s Justin Cooley Shares His NYC Faves

Tell us about your role in Kimberly Akimbo!

Cooley: I play Seth in Kimberly Akimbo! Seth is Kim’s new friend/best friend who she meets throughout the story, and they really turn each other’s worlds upside down. He is a nerdy, whimsical, thoughtful, open, and curious kid and is a joy to play every night.

How did you get your start in your performing career?

Cooley: Kimberly Akimbo is my Broadway and professional debut! But I first started acting during my freshman year of high school, when I timidly dipped my leg into the world of performance being in the ensemble of a production of Hairspray. As time went on, I got more and more invested, and by my senior year, I was playing a lead, Dmitry, in Anastasia, which landed me in the Jimmy Awards 2021. From there, I was discovered and pulled into Kimberly Akimbo.

What are your best tips for exploring NYC like a local?

Cooley: Don’t be afraid to explore the neighborhoods and parts of town that aren’t in Midtown! There are so many small magical things to discover in every part of the city! Once you get familiar with an area, it kind of teaches you where to look to find fun things that might not always be the most touristy and advertised.

Brooklyn Bridge (©Ling Tang)
Brooklyn Bridge (©Ling Tang)

What should be on every visitor’s “bucket list” when visiting?

Cooley: Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and going into Dumbo/Brooklyn Bridge Park. A nice change of pace to get a little bit out of Manhattan, and you can really get a taste of sightseeing, nature, landmarks, and just a nice dinner all in one little moment!

Brooklyn Bridge Park (©Marco Lenti)
Brooklyn Bridge Park (©Marco Lenti)

What’s an excellent spot to capture a great selfie?

Cooley: The Brooklyn Botanic Garden! Especially in the spring! It’s my favorite place in the whole city; so many different beautiful backgrounds, and the row of Cherry Trees is just *chefs kiss* so beautiful!!

Brooklyn Botanic Garden (©Rhythm Goyal)
Brooklyn Botanic Garden (©Rhythm Goyal)

What is the best suggestion you can give a first-time visitor?

Cooley: Don’t be afraid to slow down, schedule a block of time, to not have anything to do, and just walk around Central Park or interesting parts of the city. I feel there’s a misconception of New York that it’s always go go go, and there’s a lot happening, sure, but you can still choose your own speed and perspective, and you appreciate the culture and life much more if you don’t always have a goal.

Central Park Aerial View (©Jermaine Ee)
Central Park Aerial View (©Jermaine Ee)

If someone only had 24 hours in NYC, where would you send them?

Cooley: To the Booth Theatre to see Kimberly Akimbo, of course, haha!! Or any other Broadway show, really; I think it’s so worth it and special to get into, even if you have a short moment.

 
Victoria Clark and Justin Cooley in KIMBERLY AKIMBO (©Joan Marcus)
Victoria Clark and Justin Cooley in KIMBERLY AKIMBO (©Joan Marcus)
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