press & praise

 

Thank you so much for bringing Daniel Webster to us (and to life!) during our celebration of National Library Week. He was a fascinating man, much enjoyed by all. We would love to visit sometime with your other personalities as well.

Pam Schwotzer
North Hampton Library, New Hampshire

 

On behalf of the Adjutants General Association of the United States and the Vermont National Guard, thank you for your outstanding performance as President Coolidge during the Opening Ceremony on Monday, June 14, 2004. Your impeccable rendition of President Coolidge was inspiring to all who attended. You have truly captured the essence of this great U. S. President. Your comments were both entertaining and appropriate for out audience and helped set the stage for a very productive and entertaining Annual Conference.

Martha T. Rainville, Major General
The Adjutant General
Vermont National Guard

 

“John Quincy Adams in Russia” was a great success. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. The whole piece came together beautifully and was a tribute not only to the anniversary celebration but also to the cooperation and respect between you and Dr. Lynn Parsons. I am hopeful that we can work together in some manner in the future.

Stan Rosenberg
Massachusetts State Senator

 

We could not have been more pleased with your performance of “Edward Everett: The Other Speaker at Gettysburg.” You gave us a wonderful taste of the past seen through the eyes of one of its most famous statesmen. You caught very well Everett’s life and times and the great issues of the day that engaged him. All in all, a masterful performance concerning which -- I have heard nothing but raves from audience members. We are most appreciative of your sharing your talents with us and giving us such a fine and memorable performance. I think the full house, the numerous insightful questions, and the enthusiasm of the applause showed how well you captured out audience.

Carl Zellner, President
The Friends of the Charlestown Branch Library
Charlestown, Massachusetts

 

Thank you for coming to Vermont to do your wonderful Calvin Coolidge re-creation for the Bicentennial Celebration. You were a great addition to the events; your voice that day in the hall was a highlight.

Jane Williams, Special Assistant
Vermont Boards and Commissions

 

Your performance was wonderful. The students said they learned a lot from it and were intrigued with both the character of Calvin Coolidge and your art in playing him.

Bernice Buresh
Adjunct Associate Professor of American Studies
Brandeis University
Waltham, Massachusetts

 

I can’t thank you enough for your inspirational, witty and totally convincing portrayal of Daniel Webster – for the third year running.

Ellen P. Riboldi, Director
Ventress Memorial Library
Marshfield, Massachusetts

 

I want to thank you for performing so well and doing so much to make last Sunday’s Abraham Lincoln & Edward Everett program one of the most successful we have ever had. Everything came off just right! I was impressed with the quality of your voice, the clarity of speech, the knowledge of the subject and your professional manner. I could not have been more pleased.

Doug Cunningham, President
Friends of the Lisle Library
Lisle, Illinois

 

As I watched Jim Cooke take his position on stage waiting to be introduced as “Calvin Coolidge” I knew from his posture and bearing that we had indeed made a wise choice to include his rendition as part of our City of Peabody Jubilee Celebration.

As he began to speak I knew this was Calvin Coolidge! The rapt attentive faces of the audience reassured me I was not alone in this determination. This was not just an historic recitation, but a human portrayal that cannot be perceived in textbooks. It was a fascinating evening!

Rose Tierney Drysdale, President
Peabody Historical Society
Peabody, Massachusetts

 

On behalf of Mount Rushmore National Society, thank you for supporting the fifth annual Presidential dinner, “An Evening with Calvin Coolidge.”

The event auction and dinner sales raised more than $15,000, a new record for an evening with a President. Many people were touched by the words of Jim Cooke as President Coolidge framed with the inspiring sculpture Mount Rushmore as his background.

Diana Saathoff, Executive Director
Mount Rushmore National Memorial Society, South Dakota

 

Your performances as Daniel Webster have such resonance, depth, and power that they take my breath away—at times almost literally! As Webster you open a modern audience’s ears to an oratorical tradition that can seem very foreign today. As one participant said, “It made the speech come alive and put into perspective the incredible power and influence of charismatic orators.” Thank you for helping teachers bridge the divide between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—and thank you for being such a delight to work with, too.

Sherill E. Hatch, Coordinator of Outreach
Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts

 

Jim Cooke walks the boards with the best of them; blessed with a stentorian voice and a seemingly preternatural feel for the art, he appears to have been born for the stage. Assuming the character and dress of Daniel Webster, he succeeded in making the man and his time come alive for our 340 students and 60 teachers. What a great way to teach history! I am delighted to give him my highest recommendation.

William L. Burke III, Headmaster
St. Sebastian’s School
Needham, Massachusetts

 

“Cranky Yankees: All Together Now!” offered fascinating insights into the theatrical process. The vignettes of J. Q. Adams, Daniel Webster, Calvin Coolidge and Edward Everett created the effect of a most entertaining, witty evening of conversation with this collection of singular individuals. The audience was engaged from start to finish. We were extremely pleased to premiere this new program.

Edward Fitzgerald, Executive Director
Quincy Historical Society
Quincy, Massachusetts

 

Thank you for speaking at the Anne Hutchinson Memorial Marker & Square re-dedication ceremony. Your impressive performance of John Winthrop’s sermon on the ship Arebella in 1630 was particularly significant after knowing the chronological accounts of Anne Hutchinson’s banishment from the Bay Colony by Winthrop and his associates. We truly appreciate your research on Winthrop for this important occasion.

Jo Costello & Anneli Johnson
The Wollaston Garden Club
Wollaston, Massachusetts

 

Your performance as Edward Everett at Gettysburg shall remain in my mind forever.

Dr. Daniel Bassuk
Association of Lincoln Presenters

 

As one who has spent a good many years trying to understand Webster and the remarkable power he exerted over the 19th century Americans, I hasten to endorse Jim Cooke’s dramatic presentation.

Irving H. Bartlett
Biographer of Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun

 

I hold you -- and few others -- as peer, primo inter pares, so to say. I have ever taken delight in Calvin, enjoyed John Quincy Adams immensely, and abide Dan'l well 'though he is too much a thunderer for me. I esteem your work greatly, and delight in your sly Yankee wit.

We so often work as loners, standing up on our hind bones. It has always been gratifying for me to know that, solo, I was not alone.

Bill Meikle, Actor: "Ben Franklin Alive!"
1935 - 2007

 

At the request of the U. S. Embassy in Moscow, James Cooke, as John Quincy Adams, reached an audience of 500-1000 Russians in a four-day 2008 performance and lecture tour in Moscow, the Urals and St Petersburg. Adams, who was the first American student to study in Russia as a teenager (1781-82), went on to become the first U.S. Minister to Russia (1809-1814) and, of course, the sixth president of the United States. Mr. Cooke's programs highlighted the democratic ideals still so pertinent today and was part of the Embassy's celebration of 200 years of U.S.-Russian relations. According to the Embassy, Mr. Cooke "was superb in portraying this outstanding and complex historical figure".

 

Actor Jim Cooke worked a little granite into his jaw and then gave his vocal cords a touch of sandpaper. As Calvin Coolidge redux he brazenly inhabited the halls of the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. "Read a lot about our great presidents. One thing they have in common is they managed to get a lot of people killed in wars. I was an utter failure in that department."

Hugh Sidey
Time Magazine

 

The Cult of Cal -- Quiet Hero, Ardent Fans: Actor Jim Cooke does Coolidge better than Coolidge did himself.
William McGurn
The Wall Street Journal

 

The physical resemblance is uncanny: Cooke's tight expression, formal posture, thin stature, serious demeanor, and clipped cadence are mirror images of the nation's 30th president.

But what makes Cooke's performance so startling is his immense knowledge of the man he portrays. Every answer comes from Coolidge's actual writing or speeches.

The Union Leader
Manchester, New Hampshire