Interview with Broadway Performer Jennifer Cody
BB101 is thrilled to bring you Jennifer Cody! A triple threat Broadway Gal as well as TV/film performer (you may have heard her voice recently in The Princess and the Frog) and is also a director/choreographer! Jennifer gives great advice on conquering Broadway!
BB: Where did you go to college for theatre and/learn the trade in order to move to NYC to pursue theatre as a career?
JC: I graduated from Fredonia State University with a BFA degree in Performance. I had visited NYC with my high school and immediately fell in love with the city. I remembering seeing Noises Off and Cats when I was young and realizing that I could do this as a career.
BB: As far as schooling/training what were some great attributes to studying there?
JC: I completely support going to school or finding a way to learn the craft. I was introduced to plays and styles and experiences that I never would have known had I just ventured to NYC when I was 17. It also introduced me to the SETC where I ended up getting a national tour and spending a year, on a bus, seeing the country.
BB: What is one thing you learned while actively pursuing a NY stage career that you wish you would have known before moving to the city and could impart to others ?
JC: I wish I had realized that what made me different actually made me special. I think I spent the first few years in NYC trying to be like everyone else and blending in as opposed to embracing the uniqueness of me. No one can “do“ you like you...
BB: How was the transition from going from college to pursuing a NY career? What did you do to adjust/conquer NYC?
JC: I was fortunate enough to tour for a year before coming to NYC...but I still had enough “naiveté” to go to every audition when I got there. I actually booked another national tour auditioning for a role in which I was completely wrong. I only was in NYC for a month before I left again.
BB: How/when did you get your first Broadway job?
JC: I booked Cats because I had just done the National tour, but getting that tour was the story. I went to an open call for the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls. The call was for dancers 5’4 and up. I went anyway. I was an Equity candidate and when I got cut (because I was 4’11), the casting director kept my card because he also cast Cats. When he called Equity to get my contact info, they had never heard of me. He threw out the card. I happen to be doing a three week run of an Off-Broadway production of Anyone Can Whistle in which posters were hanging around midtown. By some twist of fate, they had put our names on the poster and the casting director happen to see and remember the girl’s name on that card he had tossed. He called the theatre and the next day I was at the Wintergarden auditioning for Cats. I left two weeks later. True Story.
BB: Can you offer a piece of audition advice?
JC: Be yourself. The people behind the table want you to be good. Be prepared. Know the material enough to be able to change direction with it if asked. Don’t Be Desperate. Be the person you would want to create and hang with...This business is like riding a roller coaster without a seatbelt. It’s exhilarating sometimes and terrifying sometimes. That part doesn’t change...
BB: What was/is your day job/other ventures between gigs or do you do both simultaneously?
JC: I direct and choreograph and teach when I’m not acting. I’m not sure you would call that a “day job”.
BB: Do you still train/work on your craft? How? Where?
JC: I train every day. I still take class. I read about our business. I watch shows about the business. I see shows. I try to add new things to my “bag o’ tricks”. Right now, I’m taking Portuguese class. I always strive to be the smartest actor I can be.
BB: Any words of inspiration or anything else you want to say/impart?
JC: It is the greatest gift to do what you love as a profession. Even when I don’t get a part I really want or my show closes or I feel like there are no opportunities...I feel lucky.
On Broadway, Jennifer has been in many shows including: Shrek The Musical, Pajama Game, Taboo, Urinetown The Musical, No No Nanette (Encores), Best Little Whorehouse(Actors Fund), Seussical, Grease, Beauty and the Beast and Cats (yep, Cats). Jennifer has spent the last few years lending her voice to movie and TV characters and commercials. She won the Annie award (The voice-over Oscar for Best Actor in an Animated Motion Picture Feature Film) for creating the voice of Charlotte La Boeuff in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. She also is the voice of “Darcy” in Nickolodeon’s Winx Club and “Lucy” in Robot and Monster. Off- Broadway, she was thrilled to create original roles in Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party (MTC), Charles Bush’s Judith of Bethulia (Theatre for the New City) and Henry and Mudge (Lucille Lortel). TV/FILM: Winx Club, Robot and Monster, American Dad, Phineas and Ferb, Law and Order, Gravity Falls, Daily Show, Letterman. Upcoming projects: The film, Lucky Stiff, where she plays Jason Alexander’s wife, and Khumb,an animated film where she voices “Fifi, the Cheerleading Zebra”.