Cobe Jackson, 11, is starring in “The Remarkable Farkle McBride” on Sunday along with actor Steve Coulter and actress Reay Kaplan. He auditioned for the part in February and has been gearing up for the show since the beginning of April.
“I wouldn’t say it was hard,” he said about the rehearsals. “I would say it was more of a challenge, but the directors and stage managers were very nice to work with.”
The show, which is based on a popular children’s book by award-winning actor John Lithgow and music by conductor Bill Elliott, is the last of a concert series with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Alliance Theatre.
Jackson said he heard about the show from an acting coach, Barry Stewart Mann, while participating in a performance program called “Junior Players” in February.
“He said I had a lot of potential, and after the class and weeks of training, he told me about this part and this new show,” he said. “He said it would be a great part for me, and the rest is history.”
The sixth-grader said what he’s enjoyed most about playing Farkle McBride is how interesting the character is.
“He’s a prodigy who plays all these instruments. Every time he plays an instrument and masters it, he throws it away and looks for more challenges, only to some day conduct an orchestra,” Jackson said. “It’s a very funny and an intriguing story.”
The show’s director, Patrick McColery, said much like the title character, Jackson is a “remarkably talented young man.”
“He gave a wonderful audition, and I knew right away that he was our Farkle McBride,” McColery said. “The piece is a wonderful mixture of orchestral music and theatrical elements, all held together by (Jackson). ”
Jackson has performed several times around the Atlanta area, including with the Atlanta Hawks at the MLK Center, with the Alliance Youth Players and the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta.
“I love the experience of meeting all the cast members and getting notes from directors, giving me advice on how to do things better,” he said.
Jackson, the son of Zanethia Eubanks and Christopher Jackson, said he fell in love with performing when he was a toddler.
“My mom would watch me impersonating movies and … so when I was 3, I took acting lessons,” he said.
“He just exuded this energy,” Jackson’s mother said. “I say operate in your gift. The parent’s role is to guide. It’s not to drive. The drive comes from the child.”
Eubanks boasts that she isn’t your typical stage mom though.
“I support my children’s passion. Part of (a parent’s) goal is to see what they’re passionate about,” she said. “This is not my dream, it’s Cobe’s dream.”
Jackson isn’t the only star in the family though.
“I have one sister (Ziya Jackson). She is younger than me, 7,” he said. “My sister is an amazing singer. Our family is known for arts, singing and dancing.”
And while neither of Jackson’s parents performs like he does, he tattled on his mother, saying she does love to sing, just not for an audience.
“She just doesn’t like to let anyone know that she can sing,” he said with a laugh.
Jackson is also passionate about is a nonprofit organization that he started in 2009, when he was just 9 years old.
“(Co-Creativity) donates to those in need and those in the hospital,” he said. “Our motto is ‘From art to one’s heart.’”
Members of his organization perform for patients and do arts and crafts with them.
“We do a lot of things for children and adults,” he added.
Show times for Jackson’s debut will be at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday in the Atlanta Symphony Hall at the Woodruffs Arts Center in Atlanta. Single tickets for these performances are $15 to $20.