Meet Ben Cooley
Perhaps Benjamin (Ben) Joseph Cooley was destined to take on the role of Art Garfunkel. After all, just like the real Simon and Garfunkel, he was born and raised in New York City’s Queens borough—“an amazing place to live and I wouldn’t want to have grown up anywhere else.”
To Ben, there is nothing more exciting than telling a great story on a stage through songs and music. Bitten by the acting bug when he landed a small part in a local non-profit children’s production of “The Sound of Music,” Ben instantly fell in love with the way that stories were brought to life within the format of a musical and spent the rest of his high school years appearing in as many shows staged by the organization and his school as possible—including “Footloose” and “Songs for a New World”. After high school, he studied Musical Theatre at The Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut, the comprehensive performing arts conservatory of the University of Hartford. Since then, he has performed in such musicals as “Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” and “Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical”.
The actor’s first real connection with Simon and Garfunkel happened when he watched a TV special of the duo’s “Concert in Central Park”. Ben felt an immediate kinship with their folksy, lightly sung musical style that was, in many respects, similar to the Christian music his parents played while he was growing up. At the time, he never dreamed he would have the privilege of performing their legendary music all across the country.
Ben’s current hobbies are an eclectic mix. In his spare time, he enjoys the visual art of calligraphy; participating in FPV (first-person-view) drone racing, the part video game, part action sport; and playing Guitar Hero. The fourth of five siblings, three boys and two girls, the actor is convinced that taking care of his “awesome” mentally disabled brother has helped both him and other members of his family to be more kind, loving, caring and understanding people.