Age & Hometown: 22; Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Current Role: A Broadway debut as Jack Kelly, the tough, revolutionary New York newsboy who secretly dreams of being an artist in Disney’s Newsies.
The Underdog Story: Cott went from college graduate to star of one of Broadway’s biggest musicals in under four months, a career trajectory the young actor had begun picturing while still at Carnegie Mellon. “In December of my senior year, I realized that I really wanted some sort of job by the time I graduated,” Cott recalls. “There was one day where I woke up at 4 AM, flew from Pittsburgh to New York, had an audition at 11:30, had a cab waiting for me outside the casting office, flew back in Pittsburgh for class at 2:30 and then performed in Sweeney Todd that night.” The hard work paid off, and Cott was fielding offers by the summer of 2012. After graduation, he accepted a standby job at Newsies because of its David and Goliath story. “I’m a big sports fan, and you always root for the underdog,” he explains. “[Newsies’] story is timeless; it’s in every competition. That’s where the best stories are bred—the underdogs.”
Welcome to Broadway: As the new kid, Cott was welcomed into the Newsies family with open arms. “The first day I went on, at intermission all the guys were tweeting about how proud they were of me. I went up to their dressing room in tears and said, ‘You have no idea how much it means to me that you’ve been so supportive and welcoming,’” he said. “That’s the reason why my debut went well: I developed a good relationship with these guys.” This “goofiest group in the entire world” introduced Cott to the joy of Twitter and the magic of the Midtown cookie bakery Schmackary's. “It’s all twenty-somethings and you couldn’t ask for a better group to be welcomed into,” he says. “I haven’t met Chris [Gattelli, Newsies’ choreographer], but everyone says he’s just the nicest guy. I’m like, ‘You’re all so nice! How can there be anyone nicer?’”
Sacred Love: Offstage, Cott is planning a January 2013 wedding with his beautiful fiancée, Meghan Woollard, whom he met singing at church in Pittsburgh. “When I think about it, I feel like kind of a stud,” he jokes. “I got an older girl.” (Woollard is three years Cott's senior and works in computer software.) “She’s not actress, which is my favorite part about our relationship,” he adds. “I can just come home and hang out and we don’t have to talk about acting. As much as I love the business, it’s nice to let that be where it is during the day and then be normal people with each other.” Religion remains a priority for Woollard and Cott, who attend services near the theater with several of his castmates and other young actors. “Church is an important part of our lives,” he says. “It’s nice to have a community of people who do what you do and have similar beliefs.”