“…If music is the language of the soul then prepare to soar. Goose bumps, tears, laughter, enchantment, nostalgia, compassion, and energy fill this wonderful story of gift, passion, loss, and hope. Go-Diva invites you into the life of a young woman who is graced with an amazing voice, the passion to sing, and the deep desire to share her love affair with music. Skillfully written, and directed by L.B. Hamilton, Go-Diva is the life of Jennifer Cooper, in music…portraying her meteoric rise in the world of opera, the crushing loss of the dream and the career she had given everything to. Jennifer fills the room with the songs that filled her life, on stage and off - together and with others - that tell her story in ways that narrative simply cannot. You will sing with her at times and at others simply sit enraptured by a voice and presence that draws you in, lifts your spirit, and invites you to join hands in a journey of life that doesn’t always work as we would like - but continues to open new opportunities.” Don.
"A hugely entertaining production filled with a variety of music that spanned many generations. This well written and organized musical biography of Ms. Cooper left everyone in the audience wanting more. The keen use of audio visual presentation, along with audience participation was a stroke of genius that kept you in your seat for fear of missing anything. If you ever get a chance to see this light hearted cabaret style show, plan on attending and having a most memorable and enjoyable evening!" Blaine
"I saw Go-Diva in February at Newtowne Theatre and again this past weekend at Black Box Theatre. Each time I've seen it, I've had scenes, lines, songs, and related reflections running through my mind for days afterward. Your story has the power of touching people in multiple ways. While the path you have followed as an artist and performer is one with which many people are unfamiliar, you still connect directly with your audiences as you share your struggle to be true to yourself and your dream. We are all striving to find a "voice" for who we are. In that endeavor we share a common path. While there are many life lessons embedded in your story, I am particularly grateful for the example you offer of treasuring, protecting, nurturing, and using the gift that fulfills you as a person. I love the image of music being a "bear hug" to you! The feelings that come with a bear hug are some of the most basic and essential feelings in life. You knew from an early age what fulfilled you and what empowered you to touch others. In spite of the obstacles put in your way, you have stayed on a path that allows you to stay true to yourself - even if it wasn't the exact path you originally thought you would take. In life most of us encounter people or circumstances that make us question our direction. Your story accentuates the importance of remaining true to what we value, even if we have to alter our path. Thank you for sharing your story and your AMAZING talent. I could listen to you sing forever. I'm sure I'm simply repeating what many have said before me, you have a BEAUTIFUL voice.
You offer others so many gifts through your voice, your life choices, your personal interactions, and your willingness to share your experiences..... THANK YOU!!!!" D. Gilligan
"We were both touched by GO-DIVA!, which combines beautiful singing and the compelling story about Jennifer Cooper’s rise to operatic stardom, her subsequent fall due to a vocal cord cyst, and her determination to return to doing what she loves best and to what defines her as a person. This is a struggle that many of us have to wage in various forms, and we came away admiring her resilient response to her predicament.
During the 'talk back' after her performance, Ms. Cooper said that over the years, her voice has been slowly recovering from surgery, but to our ears, it is already soaring and beautiful. When she speaks of her childhood indecision to sing either like Karen Carpenter or Julie Andrews, Ms. Cooper switches back and forth between songs from each, and you would swear that they are themselves in the room singing." G. Anderson
"Wonderfully put together show. Sparkling performance." Tina H.
"Great! Choice of songs was perfect." Trudy A.
"Fabulous voice and dramatic ability." Carol P.
” Cooper proves once and for all that music is the universal language that heals the savage beast and mends the broken heart - to mix a metaphor or three.” Lynn K.
“I never thought I’d say this - but I’m going to go see an opera.” (Jane F.)
"Wonderful acting and story. Beautiful voice." Delores I.
“Go-DIVA” is a story [that] is so incredibly personal - yet it resonated to my own history. I guess we’ve all tried to arm-wrestle Fate at some point. Lucky for us, Jennifer seems to be winning her match! Katrina W.
"Before seeing ‘Go-DIVA!’ I thought no one could understand what I’ve been through. I no longer feel alone. Thank you. Thank you.” (John)
“It was, in a word, "Fantastic" [Jennifer is] funny, moving, energetic, touching, inspirational, endearing and very real. I had to keep reminding myself that this was her experience and the story is not finished, just because the show has ended…We all have been blessed because of it.“ Mary
“Draws you in and holds your attention. Heroine is vivacious and multi-talented
Songs & audio-visuals make for a great ride. Good clean entertainment.” Layne
“This might sound terrible…but I’m actually thrilled that this woman had to leave the opera stage; now we all get to enjoy her wonderful gift. Carol R.
“My wife and I went to Go-DIVA expecting to be entertained but we left inspired. Jennifer's story touched our hearts…” Eric
"An extraordinary and delightfully entertaining performance by a performer with wonderful stage presence…A captivating multi-media presentation leaving the audience asking for more…An exceptional night of entertainment.” Dave
“ From the moment the lights went up and Jen entered to the stage, I was riveted by her story - a wonderfully written biographical/cabaret by L.B. Hamilton, performed by Jennifer, and beautifully accompanied [at its debut] by pianist Michael Santana. The music was wonderful. In addition to being entertained by her beautiful cabaret voice, we also heard sound clips of her previously recorded music from her opera career and saw images from her life. Her acting was superb. At the end of the production, when the lights went up you could have heard a pin drop, then, tremendous applause. I don’t want to give too much of this well written, spectacularly performed production away, but you'll laugh, you may shed a tear, and you will definitely be entertained. Well done!” Lisa S.
“Go-DIVA and Ms. Cooper are - musically delicious!!! Brava! Marsha K.
“Opera’s loss is our gain. Halleluiah!” Jack W.
· Black Box Theater - Indian Head, MD... May 9 & 10, 2009
Three Notch Theater - Lexington Park, MD... February 2009
· Clark Senior Center - LaPlata, MD... May 2008
First Presbyterian Church - Delray Beach, FL... March 2008·
Eastern Mennonite University - Harrisonburg, VA... February 2008
Port Tobacco Players - LaPlata, MD... January 2008
Washington-Jefferson University - Washington, PA... October 2007·
Port Tobacco Players - LaPlata, MD... July 2007·
Boys· & Girls Club - Harrisonburg, VA... April 2007
Eastern Mennonite University - Harrisonburg, VA... March 2007
Pilgrim Church - Wheaton, MD... March 2007·
Grace Lutheran Church - LaPlata, MD... October 2006·
(World Premiere, fundraiser)
JENNIFER COOPER: "The Diva"
Jennifer Anne Cooper faithfully trained her voice by singing into her childhood hairbrush, and by age 11 made a successful debut as a soloist at her catholic school. A life-long love affair with musical performance began the moment she heard the applause. Soon after entering college (University of Maryland Baltimore County), "Jen" became known as the resident hard-working, ultra-professional, “wunderkind on the fast track”. She was showered with awards, scholarships, and generous mentoring. While studying for her Masters (at Arizona State University School of Music) she was dubbed a “triple-threat” in her already blooming professional opera career. Few were as determined, versatile, and lucky. Few enjoyed the meteoric rise that seemed her Destiny. Jen was busy and making a name for herself. She was even in love with the man of her dreams. It’s been said “many are called, but few are chosen." Jen seemed chosen.
Critics and audiences agreed and they adored her – they hired and adored her as Carmen, Cenerentola, Dorabella, Rosina, Hansel, Nicklausse, Suzuki, and more at various renowned opera companies including San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Virginia Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera North, Anchorage Symphony, L’Opera de Montreal, Capital City Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera, Opera Delaware, Michigan Opera, and others. She received critical acclaim when she performed both Melina and the Au Pair in the world premiere, Emmy-nominated, PBS broadcast of the opera, Central Park. They admired her as a concert soloist, a church soloist, and just a great person to be around. And Jen adored them back. Offers poured in. A Diva was born.
In 2001, no one was a bit surprised or even jealous as Jen prepared for a world tour in major roles and top opera houses. Her light promised to shine ever and ever brighter … until it suddenly flickered.
One seemingly microscopic medical pathology suddenly and devastatingly brought a soaring career to a screeching halt. In a figurative moment, all was lost. No lights. no costumes. No career. No network. No social circle. No voice. No identity. No soul. The gift divinely given... had been ripped away.
Fast Forward: 2005. Jen is a slaving away teaching private voice and general music courses at a tiny, private, university in the middle of nowhere. She’s feeling forgotten and alone... without a song in her heart. Proud and private, she is completely unwilling to talk about her “past.”
Enter playwright and director, LB Hamilton, who just returned East from a year out West caring for ailing relatives. She’s feeling a bit shaky, out-of-the-loop, and, well, a bit of a loser.
Suddenly Jen-the-private and LB-the-gregarious (each one having no knowledge of the other) end up working on a project together. Jen has been asked to take on the position of musical director and maestra of the university's production of "The Music Man" while LB has stepped in at the last minute as director to help out a friend who became ill. Over a production meeting at a cheap Chinese restaurant, the persistently curious LB nags the ever-reluctant Jen to share whatever the “story” is that she’s not telling anyone. An artistic partnership is born, and a wounded canary soon finds her voice... and a whole new career upon the stage.
MICHAEL SANTANA: "The Muse"
Michael K. Santana, a gifted and highly versatile teacher of vocal music, received his Bachelor’s degree from Longwood University in music education with a concentration in voice and piano. He was formerly the Director of Vocal and Keyboard Activities at the Suitland Performing Arts Center in Maryland and has served as organist and choir director with several churches in southern Maryland and Virginia. He currently is the choir director for Pilgrim Church United Church of Christ in Silver Spring, director of all choral activities at the College of Southern Maryland, and is enjoying his sixth season as director of the Chesapeake Choral Arts Society in southern Maryland.
Michael and Jen's paths crossed 20 years ago when she auditioned for the role of Luisa in The Fantasticks. He was smitten with her talent and boundless energy, and was instrumental in making sure she was cast in the role. After that production and in the years to follow, the two paired up occasionally for various recitals, concerts, and auditions. Then they lost touch for a while. Ironically, the two reconnected to work together again on a concert just months prior to the first seed-plantings of Go-DIVA! When the time came to seek out a pianist who would perfectly fit the role of the Muse in Jen's autobiography, Michael was the first choice. With a creator, an actress, and a pianist/muse on board, Go-DIVA! quickly became not only a reality, but an inspirational force that would soon take on a life of its own!
LB HAMILTON: "The Creator"
LB Hamilton, artistic director of The Profession, Inc., began her career in theatre at age 4 when she rose from a hospital bed following a tonsilectomy, raised her hands to the heavens and cried, “I’m dying!” At which her mother fainted and her father said “Oh god, she’s going to be an actress." She didn’t die but she did proceed to march to her own drummer, discover theatre and “collect and tell stories." By age 11 she was known as a weird, artistic, bohemian type and, as such types do, she eventually ended up working in Hollywood.
LB developed a habit of forming her own production companies just so she could tell the stories she wanted to; she founded and co-founded small theater companies and youth programs including the award-winning Las Vegas fringe theatre, Our Backs to the Walls Players; and was co-founder of the 15-year strong Maine Youth Summer Theatre Institute. She began her career as an actor, training, and working in Los Angeles; then worked behind-the-scene in the television, movie, and recording industries. She also contracted as an arts writer, critic, teacher, director, coach and even a wedding planner. She holds a B.A., Summa Cum Laude, in Behavioral Science and Psychology (University of Maine), and an MFA in Theatre from the University of Nevada, where she studied with Julie Jensen and the late Davey Marlin-Jones. She won critical and audience praise as a director and playwright. She declared that “Life is just production and storytelling.” She believed that the urge to make and enjoy Theatre is a natural human drive and that her assignment in this life was to keep those stories coming.
As Director of Special Programs, Publicity, and Development for Washington Shakespeare Company (WSC), she created the Arlington Dramatist Project, which presented several staged reading series for new works by emerging American playwrights, as well as the fully produced, Seniority - a collection of Hamilton’s published short plays. Also, for WSC, she directed the world premiere of Chris Stezin’s A Walk Across the Rooftops. Her commissioned new libretto Don Giovanni (of Long Island) garnered critical and audience acclaim for her, it’s director, Joe Banno, and its producer, D.C. based music presenter, InSeries. Also for InSeries, her Kaberet der Liebe und Kriege, and The Diary of One Who Vanished that she re-envisioned as opera - both enjoyed sold-out audiences at the Embassy of the Czech Republic.
Through The Profession, Inc., Hamilton presented Julie Jensen’s The Lost Vegas Series at the Minnesota Fringe Festival; was lyricist/dramaturge for the new musical, Life 101: London in Springtime, (presented at Spokane Civic Theatre, after playing in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival); and has written and/or directed numerous youth plays - which have been produced in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, and Virginia. Her published short plays including Phone Arts, A Midnight Clear, and Buyers’ Market have been produced at several college and professional venues.
As Guest Director she developed and directed Fannie Kimball’s Tempest (Shenandoah International Playwrights); directed 12 Angry Jurors and Music Man (Eastern Mennonite University); and directed the world premiere for In the Land of the Lioness (UNLV).. As Invited Guest Playwright, her Strange Growing Season was developed at University of Texas, El Paso and presented at the Chamizal Nat’l Memorial Theatre (Mexico), her Running from Nineveh, was developed and produced by Washington’s Gray’s Harbor College, and her “Good Friday” was developed and presented at ATHE - San Antonio.
She wrote and directed two musical murder mysteries, Wild About Harry (Blue Ridge Theatre Fest), LaProblem in LaPlata, both of which containted roles specifically written for Jennifer Cooper. And now, her most recent work enjoying paramount success, Go-DIVA! ~ of Song, Silence & the Abuse of Chocolate.