Although he's been out of high school less than a decade, Patrick Cook's acting and singing talents have seen him performing alongside seasoned artists such as Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Stephanie Roth and Broadway actress Louise Pitre.
Pitre earned a Tony Award nomination for her role as Donna Sheridan in the musical "Mamma Mia."
A native of St. John's, Cook's home base these days is Toronto.
His career on stage began after he graduated from Holy Heart of Mary high school in 1999 and headed for Sheridan College, where he completed a music theatre program in 2003.
Since then he's been working in theatre throughout North America. His musical talents have also taken him to Europe, where he performed with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
In 2005, Cook starred in the musical "Blood Brothers" at the Heritage Theatre in Brampton, Ont.
He recently finished a run of Mel Brooks' "The Producers" at Neptune Theatre in Halifax and has just starred in the North American premiere of the musical "Houdini," which ran at Theatre Outremont as part of Montreal's June 26-July 6 Jazz Festival.
New York actor, singer and magician Kevin Kraft played the title role, while Cook played Houdini's brother/business partner, Theo Weiss.
"In the early stages of Houdini's career, Theo was his right-hand-man, his assistant on stage," Cook says.
While there is an early conflict between the two over a love interest, they eventually reunite, with Theo resuming a spot in his brother's entertainment career.
Cook has also been cast as a "swinger" in "The Sound of Music" production opening in Toronto in October, which means he has to study 10 of the regular ensemble roles. He's also been cast an understudy for one of the other actors in the musical.
It's not the first time he's taken on the challenging role of a swinger, he says.
"I was a swinger at the Anne of Green Gables Festival in Charlottetown. The year I was there, they were celebrating the festival's 40th anniversary. I was covering four of the male dancers as well as Gilbert and two of the adults."
When Houdini closes, Cook has a couple of weeks off before starting another gig - this time as a vocalist in Edmonton.
"When that wraps up, there'll be another two-week break before 'Sound of Music' starts," he says.
As he works hard to make a name for himself throughout the country, Cook says he'll always remember the many things he learned from his high school teachers, Gordon Ralph and Susan Quinn.
"They really gave you exposure to so much of the arts," he says.
Cook said no matter where he performs, when people hear he's from Newfoundland they assume he comes by his talents naturally.
There's a joke in the business, he says, that everyone from Newfoundland can sing and play an instrument - and that's not far off the mark.
"You go back home and you go down on George Street and you go into those little pubs for those open-mikes and people grab a guitar or get behind a piano and they get up there and they're singing with all their heart. So being natural musicians in definitely in our nature," he says.