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SCVTHS THEATER ARTS GRADUATE FINDS SUCCESS

Angie Cocuzza, a 2014 graduate of Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School’s (SCVTHS) Theater Arts program from Bas

Angie Cocuzza, a 2014 graduate of Somerset County Vocational &
Technical High School’s Theater Arts Program

 

Angie Cocuzza, a 2014 graduate of Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School’s (SCVTHS) Theater Arts Program, from Basking Ridge, has found recent success touring with Baby Shark Live! The Musical, appearing as the lead in a commercial and even being featured on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna. While COVID-19 may have changed her course, Angie has not lost her passion.

Angie was on her second leg of a national Baby Shark Live! The Musical tour when COVID-19 sent her home after just two weeks of performances. She was spending time at home catching up on personal items, when Angie realized she “truly missed a creative outlet.” At that same time, Angie had just started to use the app TikTok and got “hooked.”

After finding a “horrid pink Abercrombie & Fitch polo” during a quarantine closet cleaning, Angie thought to herself, “wow, we millennials looked a lot more awkward than Gen Z is today!" This thought then made Angie think of all the different dances she had to do in her gym classes and compared them to the dances she was seeing on TikTok. Angie’s ideas eventually led her to create a funny TikTok video comparing the two types of dancing.

Angie’s video immediately went viral, receiving over 20,000 likes on TikTok within the first day. After a few weeks, the video was posted and reposted on Instagram, where the video was even reposted by Chrissy Teigen. The video was so popular; it was featured on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna. The video now has over two million views and 360,000 likes. Additionally, Angie now has 18,000 followers on TikTok, which she credits entirely to “that dingy Abercrombie polo.”

Also during her quarantine time, Angie appeared in her first commercial. The commercial, for “Poll Everywhere”, was not only Angie’s first lead role, but she also served as part of the crew, as the video was done completely remote. Doing her own lighting, makeup, wardrobe and more, truly gave Angie a new appreciation for all the people who typically do this work behind the scenes.

Reflecting on her time at SCVTHS, Angie said her education was “absolutely the most formative training I could've had to prepare me to study theatre in college and work as a performer professionally in the real world.” Angie added, “Two values that were always instilled so deep in the curriculum were professionalism and hard work. It's incredibly difficult to make it in the musical theatre profession without working hard. Talent will truly only take you so far, as I learned at SCVTS.”

“Without this preparation, I would not have been accepted to Wagner College's Theatre Program,” Angie stated. “On my first day of classes, I really felt like I had a real leg up from my classmates because of the outstanding training I received from Joe (Mancuso), Paul (O’Connor) and Alison (Mingle). Their training level was right on par with that of my college-level courses.”

Angie also offered some advice to current SCVTHS students, stating, “Really soak in everything you're being taught. Even if you don't quite understand why your teacher is making you do something, trust that they have a plan. Whatever it is they're having you do is helping you hone your craft and prepare you to practice it out in the real world.” Angie also added, “Another piece of advice I'd really like to drive home is to stay hungry and don't get discouraged. Rejection is all a part of the process. This goes for people who want to be actors, but applies to all career paths as well. You can sit around and wait for work to fall into your lap, or you can go out and make work for yourself.”

For more information contact James Strickhart at (908) 526-8900, x7169 or jstrickhart@scvts.net.