Many people have enjoyed being in the audience at a Broadway show—the flash, the splash, the fun of watching incredible actors bring amazing stories to life. Cody Lassen (SNL ’06), Broadway investor and producer and marketing director at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, is well-versed in the process. He was a producer for a one-man adaptation of “Macbeth,” starring Alan Cumming, and an investor in the mega-hit “Kinky Boots,” for which singer Cyndi Lauper composed the score.
“It’s like creating a small business, but rather than building a team, framework and clients over years, you have months,” Lassen says. “It’s the stress and fun of a small business in a shorter time frame with pressure to get it right immediately.”
Lassen emphasizes the importance of mentors early in his career. He reached out to people he respected for guidance and advice, and the connections he made have served him well over time. Lassen gives back through his volunteer work with DePaul’s mentorship program, Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK).
“I have rarely been told ‘no’ when I’ve asked for mentoring or told someone ‘no’ when they’ve asked me,” he says. “It’s really a huge part of most career fields, in my opinion, and ASK is a great tool.”
Now with the experience and connections needed for success, Lassen is motivated by the satisfaction that comes from spreading an important message or idea. He is currently working on a revival of “Spring Awakening” with Deaf West Theatre, based in L.A., which provides a platform for deaf actors. In this production, which moved from L.A. to Broadway, each part is double cast; the deaf actor performs using sign language while the hearing actor sings and speaks. The show, with co-producer Hunter Arnold (SNL ’10) and general manager Ryan Conway (MUS ’11), officially opened Sept. 27.
“I love falling in love with a show, but I love it more when I share something I love with a wide audience,” he says. “You can think a show is great, but until you have 2,000 people laughing or crying or clapping, you don’t really know with any certainty. It’s amazing.”
Learn more about the musical “Spring Awakening” in a video that explores the relationship between the deaf and hearing actors onstage and behind the scenes. >>