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Alum Hits Broadway in Breakfast at Tiffany's

Story by Meredith Ulmer '13

Cory Michael Smith ’09 has been cast as the nameless narrator (the female lead calls him Fred) in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Broadway.

After graduating from Otterbein, Smith was cast in a variety of plays as well as film roles including two New York premieres and one United States premiere.

Smith is excited to play a part in the telling of an iconic American story. He is also excited that the story is being told more closely to the novel than the film adaptation was.

“Capote’s novella is much darker than the film. The characters are younger, World War II is raging and work and money are limited,” Smith said. “It’s a love story about two young people trying to survive and trying to find their place in the world during a time when the world is at war with each other.”

Smith attributes much of his acting success to his fine arts education at Otterbein. He credits many of his professors for helping him gain such a well-rounded education. He feels that they taught him how to think individually while understanding himself as well as the world around him. He considers himself lucky to have been cast in so many plays and learn so much.

While at Otterbein, Smith was cast in The Scene, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, And Baby Makes Seven, While We Were Bowling and Tartuffe.

Smith’s advice to young Otterbein actors:

A. Visualize the kind of career you want, and go after it with a plan. Set a standard for the kind of work you're willing to do. Be specific. There are a lot of different communities of artists and different kinds of theater, both in style/genre (musical theater, Shakespeare, new plays, experimental theater vs. performance art vs. burlesque, etc.) and degree of professionalism, commercialism and more. Find one that inspires you and complements your tastes and focus on entering that specific community.

B. If you want to be an actor, you must learn how to run a business. You are first a start-up, working for and by yourself. This is the hardest point. You have to inspire yourself daily to do the kind of promotion that you'll eventually pay others to do for you. Eventually, you start hiring employees (agents, managers, publicists, lawyers, etc.) and paying them. At this point, you're the CEO of YOUR company. You now have to inspire these other people to work with you and for you. I currently have a core team of four people working with me. I love the team I've compiled. They're all amazing. I communicate almost daily with these four people. It's a small business. It takes a lot of time, energy, money, leadership, commitment, fortitude and humor to keep everyone inspired.

C. Work harder than any of your friends. Unfortunately, we're all competing for the same jobs. If you want the job, you have to work harder than everyone else.

D. This business is REALLY small, and it is beautifully collaborative. If people don't like working with you, you probably won't work. People hire people with whom they want to work. Be that person. Be kind to everyone. Have respect for yourself and have respect for everyone around you.

E. Enjoy the people in the industry. We get to work with and for some of the coolest cats ever. Ask questions. Listen to their stories. There's so much to learn.

“Like” Smith’s Facebook fan page.

Read The Columbus Dispatch's article on Cory Michael Smith.