In the corporate world, employees leaving a job are asked to sit through an "exit interview" with HR about their time at the company. Although that concept doesn't exist for Broadway performers, we think it's fun to check in with stars as they finish up a successful run. Corey Cott and the cast of Newsies will pirouette off into the sunset on August 24 after over 1,000 performances on Broadway. As Cott says farewell to Santa Fe, he reflects on making his Broadway debut, performing at the Tony Awards, being part of the Newsies “marriage club” and more.
How did you feel when you first got the job?
Elated. Shocked. Excited. Scared. Pumped.
How do you feel now that you’re leaving?
All of those things, but above all, eternally grateful.
What are three words you would use to describe your experience at the job?
Cathartic. Marathon. Educational.
What was the easiest thing about the job?
Creating onstage relationships. I care about every single guy and girl like a brother and a sister outside the show. That energy easily flows onto the stage every night.
What was the hardest thing?
No matter what it is, performing the exact same thing every single day for 2 years in a row, 800 something odd times, and making it look like it is the very first time, is outrageously difficult.
What was the highlight of your time at this job?
Tough question. The Tonys were up there for sure (we presented at the 2013 Tony Awards). My Broadway debut was better than I ever imagined. But honestly, the highlight was marrying my beautiful wife. I think about her during my work every single day. Also, five different couples were married within the first year of Newsies. I felt like I was part of some weird Broadway marriage club or something.
What skills do you think are required for future job applicants?
A sense of natural leadership. Jack is a natural leader. He doesn’t force leadership or take it. It happens in a very organic way.
What advice would you give to future employees in your job position?
Jack is an incredibly complicated, charismatic, funny, genuine, passionate 17-year-old kid who has a worldly wisdom most teenagers don’t have. I would encourage anybody playing the role to find as many colors to him as you can, specifically regarding his youth. His super-objective is easy: To go to Santa Fe. Therefore, for me, personalizing Santa Fe became the most essential aspect of playing Jack. My faith is incredibly important to me, so every night Santa Fe became heaven.
How do you think you’ve grown during your time at this job?
I’ve grown immensely. I probably won’t know how much until a few months post closing. I’ve definitely grown as an actor, as a singer, as a performer. But I think I have grown the most as a friend, a brother, a husband, and simply, a man. I have so much deep love for my cast and the people who created this show. For the rest of my life, this show will live in my blood. I have no choice but to love those I have been lucky enough to share it with.
What will you miss most about the job?
I will miss looking every single one of those guys in the eye every night, and bringing truth to the story that inspired so many. I will miss singing Alan Menken’s sweeping score and Jack Feldman’s brilliant lyrics. I will miss Jack Kelly, for sure. He has inspired me in so many ways, specifically regarding courage. Most of all, I will miss the people. Relationships are the most essential part of any experience, and we really created something very special.