Emma Stone has so many awards and accolades, it’s hard to keep them all straight. She’s got her second Academy Award nomination (and may have a win by press time) for “La La Land,” has a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe and three SAG awards.
But who does she credit as the biggest influence that helped her get where she is today? Bobb Cooper, artistic director of Valley Youth Theatre. Valley Youth has been a client of ours since 1999, so we were thrilled to hear the news.
On “CBS This Morning” that aired Feb. 12, 2017, she returned to the theatre that was her “other home” when she was a girl and reunited with Cooper, giving him a huge hug.
“We have a special relationship. I’ve worked with her since she was 11 years and we stayed close when she went to Hollywood when she was 14,” Cooper says. “But I was blown away when she actually said I was the person she respects the most. She credits Valley Youth with her being able to do her work now.”
Center Stage Software has a lot of different kinds of clients – all the way from small community theatres to large stadiums, but youth theatres provide a special kind of service.
“We inspire them to be best they can be,” explains Cooper. “It’s a place where it’s safe to take risks, to learn and grow, support each other, and express themselves. They learn responsibility, time management, and how to speak in public.”
Cooper says Valley Youth’s professional productions set them apart. Their work has been acknowledged by Theatre Communication Group, a national association for not-for-profit theatres. “It’s a great honor to be recognized at that level,” he adds.
Stone isn’t the only actor from Valley Youth who’s gone on to success. Kimiko Glenn won a SAG for her role in “Orange is the New Black.” Jordin Sparks won “American Idol.” In 2016, six of their “kids” were appearing in Broadway shows.
He’s just as proud of the alumni who’ve gone on to make their marks as police officers, teachers, journalists and in other careers where their training at Valley Youth serves them well. “We have a knack for giving the kids a welcoming and positive place where you can believe in your dreams and make them come true,” Cooper says.