By Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor
This weeks installment of Emertainment Monthly’s Broadway Backstory sheds some light on the incredibly talented Corey Cott. Overnight, Cott went from a normal college student with a love for musical theatre into a bona fide Broadway star. His singing voice and dance moves are out of this world and he’s only just beginning.
Corey Cott grew up in the small town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Musical theatre always seemed to be in his blood and he participated in numerous production with his eventual Newsies co-star, Ben Fankhauser. The duo performed together in multiple musicals including Les Miserables, Sweeney Todd, Jesus Christ Superstar, Urinetown and Rent. Cott’s love for theatre turned into an eventual career path when he pursued his passion to Carnegie Mellon University, one of the most prestigious musical theatre programs in the United States. He earned a BFA in Musical Theatre and was anxious to get working on Broadway. Cott wasn’t unemployed for very long. Not missing a beat, Cott was wrapping up his degree at CMU and commuting back and forth from Pittsburgh to NYC to audition. It was there that he first auditioned for a role that would change his entire life.
Newsies was in production and the role of leading newsies Jack Kelly seemed tailor made for Cott. Newsies, based on the 1992 cult-classic Disney film, tells the story of Jack Kelly and his band of newsboys. Jack dreams of a better life far from the hardships he faces day to day on the streets of New York City. When Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices for the newsboys, Jack finds his cause to fight for and rallies his army of newsies for a major newspaper strike. Cott auditioned for the role and ended up getting cast as Jeremy Jordan’s (the original Jack Kelly) understudy.
Cott went on stage for Jordan twelve times before Jordan left the production of Newsies after seven months. Then it was Cott’s turn to shine. At 22 years old, Cott was starring in a major Disney musical on Broadway as the leading man. Talk about a storybook moment. Cott made the role entirely his own. His voice on iconic musical numbers like “Santa Fe” and “Carrying the Banner” were iconic and he became the face of Newsies. Through his Broadway.com vlog “King of New York,” Cott was able to reach out to fans. Leading fans of Newsies, “Fansies” as they are known as, into the backstage world of Newsies allowed Cott to connect to them and create another outlet for people to experience the musical. For being as young as he is, Cott sure did make a splash on Broadway. He continued with Newsies until the musical closed on August 24, 2014.
So, what is Cott up to now? His life hasn’t slow down at all. He is now starring as Gaston Lachaille in the musical revival of Gigi starring opposite Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical), which opened at the Neil Simon Theatre in NYC on April 8, 2015. His incredible singing skills has landed him another high-profile role amongst some of the biggest Broadway stars. Cott lends his skills effortlessly and is no doubt making another monumental mark on Broadway. With the original role of Gaston, Gigi’s suitor, being a much older man, Cott is already re-inventing the role. With opening night this past Wednesday reviews have already been good for the re-invention of Gigi.
Cott is also starring in the upcoming movie, The Teacher. Cott plays the title role of Vance Stewart, a young, white and idealistic soon-to-be teacher. Everything in life has come easy to him until he faces his biggest challenge, teaching in a New York City public high school. Now, Vance grapples with not being the traditional “authoritarian” teacher who lectures. Vance wants to be the teacher that inspires through creativity and originality however, his ideals are put to the test when his students challenge his every move. The Teacher doesn’t have a release date yet but more information is sure to come out soon.
Corey Cott is a Broadway star in the making. His killer dance moves, out of this world voice and boyish charm help him stand out. From Newsies to Gigi, Cott continuously surprises on Broadway and with this being the beginning of his career, the only direction for the rest is upward and Emertainment Monthly is excited to be on this journey with him.
Gigi is currently running at the Neil Simon Theatre in NYC. For more information visit: http://gigionbroadway.com/