Since graduating Carnegie Mellon University in May 2012, Corey Cott, 22, moved to New York City, landed his first Broadway show and, most recently, tied the knot to Meghan Woollard in the beginning of 2013.
"It's just one thing after the other that I never, ever would have ever imagined," Cott told Playbill.com by phone Feb. 21. "If you told me [what my life would be like] six months ago — even a month before my audition — I still would have just laughed in your face because, you know, [during] senior year, you just prepare for the worst! You prepare that you're going to move to New York and have four roommates and live in Brooklyn and have no money and just be toughing it because it's what you love to do — not that you'll all of a sudden be in the spotlight."
The actor began his journey with the 2012 Tony Award-nominated Best Musical Newsies on Aug. 7. He initially booked the Jack Kelly alternate, performing the lead role on occasion in place of Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan, who was juggling both the musical and filming the NBC musical drama "Smash" (where he currently stars as bad-boy songwriter Jimmy Collins). Cott officially stepped into the spotlight — as the musical's newest Jack Kelly — Sept. 5.
"My goal was to not have to wait tables," admitted Cott. "I just really wanted to be able to work in the industry I went to school [for]. I was trying to prioritize coming to the city just to get audition experience, let alone actually booking a job." During his last semester at CMU, where he earned a BFA in Music Theatre, Cott flew back and forth between Pittsburgh and New York City for auditions…and was on a roll. The actor booked the Off-Broadway-bound Bare, the national tour of Wicked and work at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. However, he turned down all opportunities.
"I decided that it might [be] better for me, with the momentum that I had, to maybe stay in New York and keep pursuing things here," he confessed, "especially because your first year out of school is, as everyone says, one of the most important years of your career when you're first starting out."
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