Most musical theatre performers dream of one day getting a chance to perform on Broadway, and for Canadians, getting to live the New York dream is something that many people aspire to. For Cody Scott Lancaster, his big opportunity came when the Toronto production of Rock of Ages closed. A few members of that production were able to go down to New York City as the show transferred from the Brooks-Atkinson to the Helen Hayes Theatre, and Cody got the chance to reprise his star-turn as Franz on the Great White Way.
The bubbly and energetic actor has been living and working in New York City ever since, and on a recent hot Sunday morning, he met up with me to take me through a day of the life of a Canadian on Broadway. We chatted about how he landed the role in NYC, what he hopes to do next and what it’s like making the big move to NYC as he showed off some of his favourite hang-outs and gave BWW an inside look at what an average day is like for someone in a hit Broadway show.
We kicked off at Lennys, a local diner that is a favourite spot of Cody’s as well as many other Broadway stars. Over a classic New York bagel (me) and a large meaty sandwich (Cody), we got to discussing his transition to Broadway as well as what he misses from back home in Toronto:
First of all, congratulations on Rock of Ages! You seem very at home here. What do you miss most about Toronto?
To be honest I don’t miss that much, it’s mostly the people. I think that’s common for a lot of Canadians who come to New York City, you find yourself missing the amazing community of people you left behind. But the fact that there isn’t a ton of stuff to audition for back home compared to here makes this feel like the place I should be right now, and I’ve always wanted to be here. There’s more work but I’ve also fallen in love with the city. There’s just something special about a street that has twenty theatres on it and watching people come out of theatres at 10:45PM and just fill the street – it’s awesome.
What has this journey been like for you so far? How did you come to be on Broadway?
Well when we closed in Toronto it was at the same time they closed the Brooks-Atkinson production so they could transfer to the Helen Hayes theatre. That move it allowed the producers to pull together their dream cast, so they ended up taking people from the tour, the Broadway production and the Toronto production. Tony LePage, Tessa Alves and Emily Williams all got their phone calls the day after we closed in Toronto but I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks. So I was already doing another local workshop when I suddenly got a Facebook message from one of the producers.
He didn’t have your contact information?
*laughs* He was traveling in Australia and didn’t have his address book handy and knew he could reach me that way. So he wrote me on Facebook and asked for my agent’s information to give me a part on Broadway. I was basically sitting in this rehearsal space working on a workshop when I got the news that I was going to New York City. It was pretty amazing.
So technically you didn’t have to audition?
Technically not for this production. Once I got the official word, my Mom and I went to NYC and started looking at places! To start I went right to Times Square which was convenient but not really ideal. The crowds and noise got to be a bit much after awhile and I ended up finding a place outside of the midtown core.
How much time do you really spend in Times Square now?
Honestly, I’m pretty much only in Times Square at night when I’m working, or when I train because my gym is there. Otherwise I’m anywhere else. You learn very quickly when you move here what spots to avoid and what spots you love. When I first moved here I would just sit outside in Times Square at night pinching myself thinking about the fact that I got to live here. After awhile that wears off though and you start to want to explore everything else the city has to offer.