BWW Interviews: COME FLY AWAY's 'Sid', Cody Green
When Come Fly Away opens on August 2 at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, don't be surprised when you hear the voice of "Ol' Blue Eyes" himself - for this acclaimed show, directed and choreographed by dance legend, Twyla Tharp uses actual master recordings of Frank Sinatra as it's musical score. Performing some of the amazing choreography of the show and dancing to Sinatra classics (and lesser known numbers) is Cody Green, who plays Sid, the cocky nightclub regular who falls in love on one fateful night. I sat down with Cody and talked about his experience with Twyla Tharp, dance shows vs. traditional musicals and the wonderful music of Frank Sinatra.
BWW: Cody, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I am excited to hear about the show and I know our readers will be too. We are really looking forward to Come Fly Away in Atlanta!
Cody Green: We are excited to be coming there! I wasn't with the Atlanta production when it first started [at the Alliance], but I was part of the Braodway production right after Atlanta, and I know they had a great time there!
Let's start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career. Specifically, how did you get into the theatre business?
I grew up in Vancouver, B.C. Canada and I was fortunate enough to get into dance through my mom who was my dance teacher. I grew up dancing and doing sports. I left Vancouver and came to New York to attend The Julliard School and it was at Julliard where I got the bug for singing. There were a lot of voice majors at Julliard and a lot of fantastic actors too, and so that really got me started on the acting and singing side of things. After school, my first equity job was Mamma Mia, I did the first national tour. From there I heard about a new Twyla Tharp show, Movin Out, and when I saw the show I just knew I had to do it. It struck a chord with me, the choreography and the music and the blend of the two. I had an audition the next day and I was chosen for the tour and had a chance to work with Twyla for the first time. I went on to the Broadway production of the show and then on to London. After that, I came back to New York to do Grease. When the stagehands went on strike during Grease, I had the opportunity to do a TV show for Bravo called "Step it Up and Dance", and I was lucky enough to win that show. I then went from there to playing Riff in West Side Story, which was a wonderful experience, and then got the chance to work with Twyla again in Come Fly Away on Broadway!
Tell me more about your experience on "Step It Up and Dance."
The show was a competition show by the same people who did "Project Runway" and "Top Chef." There were challenges each week, with a winner for each challenge and someone eliminated each week as well. There were ten episodes and it was a pretty grueling process, shooting all day and into the night. It aired on Bravo for the whole season. In the end, I was part of the final five contestants and we performed our solos and I was picked as the winner. Growing up doing all different styles of dance prepared me well for the show because there was a different style of dance every week. One week might be Broadway, the next week more hip hop, then the next week more acrobatic, so that was a real challenge but it was great for me.
Let's talk about Come Fly Away. There may be a number of readers out there who don't know about the show. How would you describe it to those people? What can people expect when they come to the show?
With Come Fly Away, you get to hear these great recordings direct from the Sinatra archives that you may not have had the chance to hear before. Twyla Tharp actually created her Sinatra dances over 25 years ago and decided to bring them back and put them in this show in a way that is really genius. During the show you meet four couples that are all entagled romantically and the whole thing takes place over the course of an evening surrounded by the music of Frank Sinatra.
With all the music in the show being actual recordings of Frank Sinatra, I am curious how that has compared to doing a more traditional musical theatre production which requires you to sing and dance and act?
It is definitely different. There are challenges to doing a show where you have to sing, dance and act and do them all at the same time. But there is also something challenging about Twyla's choreography because it is quite challenging. You won't see dancing like that anywhere else. The challenge is telling the story with Twyla's choreography without words. So you have to have dancers that can also act, to portray the characters and to tell the story through dance. It is a little easier to tell a story when you can use words, but with this you have to be a little more creative.
Since you have been part of Movin Out and now Come Fly Away (both with Twyla Tharp), I am curious what it is about this type of show that draws you to it?
To get the chance to work with a choreographer like Twyla that is such an unbelievable honor. I am drawn to her choreography because it is so challenging. You can do this show for six months and discover something new every single show. She pushes you and she wants the best out of everyone. She wants the story to be told and her vision to be portrayed and that is a big responsibility to carry, but that challenge is part of the appeal. I love challenges - it's what makes life exciting.
So, tell us a little about your character, Sid. What's he all about?
As the story starts, Sid comes in and he has been to this nightclub before, he is a regular. He sees this beautiful girl, Babe, and right off the bat he is into her but she is with another guy, Chanos. He proceeds to try to win her over and in doing so gets in the way of the guy she came with. Sid is pretty cocky and he shows off for Babe and tries to put his best foot forward. She plays with him a little bit. In the first half there is this song called "Lead When I Dance" and they have a fight about who is leading and who is in charge, and it is a fun one because we have a little fight on stage, kind of a "Anything You Can Do" moment. One of my favorite Pas de Deux that we do is "Take Five." Most of Sid's character is showing off and then getting shot down a bit, but ultimately he falls for this girl and they have an interesting ride throughout the show.
Do you find yourself realting to Sid in any way?
As a male dancer, there's a certain aspect of wanting to do your best, a certain confindence that goes along with that kind of choreography, so the movement itself helps show who the character is. The movement defines him. That makes it a lot easier, especially when you have a great partner to work with, you get to play off each other on stage. Every character is a stretch, but I think you have to bring some of yourself to that character.
So, I am curious what part of the show do you look forward to the most each night? Is there a specific number?
"Take Five" is a fun one. All of the guys like "I'm Gonna Live 'Til I Die." It is the guys song, we do what we do and everyone busts out their best tricks and their best jumps and turns. That's fun. The energy is high with that one and people really enjoy that number.
And having been part of this show on Broadway and now going on tour, how do those experiences compare?
There is a wonderful excitement about doing a show in New York on Broadway but there is also something cool about taking something you have done and worked on so hard on tour and bringing it to audiences all over. The audiences are all very different and the energy is different and they respond to different things. It is cool to figure out what that will be. Plus, it is lots of fun to go to different cities and to see the country. I haven't toured since "Movin Out", so this is going to be a fun escape again.
So, beyond this show, what's next for you?
I am transitioning into doing some more TV and Film at the moment. I love doing Broadway and continuing to work on new projects, but I am excited to get into doing more TV and Film as time goes on.
Cody, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today. Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?
I hope people come out and see the show and get to see dancing like they have never seen before. I think people will be pretty excited about it.
Come Fly Away, conceived, choreographed, and directed by Tony Award-winner Twyla Tharp and by special arrangement with the Frank Sinatra Family and Frank Sinatra Enterprises, will be presented by Theater of the Stars at the Fox Theatre from August 2 – 7. Tickets, which range from $30 to $80, are available at www.theaterofthestars.com. For additional information, please visit www.comeflyaway.com