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Briarcliff Youth Pursues Life In Theater

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – A week after returning from the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts, Emily Code is living in upper Manhattan and auditioning for theater roles in the city.

Step by step, Code, 22, who grew up in Briarcliff, is preparing herself for a life working in theater.

"So much of it just persistence. You need to have the drive, have talent and a lot of luck," said Code.

When she was at Briarcliff High School, Code played the Baker's Wife in Stephen Sondheim's musical "Into the Woods," and at Tufts University, Code majored in theater and was involved in 14 theater productions.

After graduating from college, Code spent one year saving up money by working on theater stage crews. She moved to New York City last December and after getting settled with an apartment near Columbia University, she decided to apply for the apprentice program at the Williamstown Theater Festival, a well-regarded summer program housed in Williams College that helps hone theater skills.

Sixty-nine apprentices including Code were accepted into the program.

"The second day we were there we had to do a one and a half-minute monologue to audition," Code said. "I was so impressed with the level of talent. It feels good to know you're among people you want to work with in the future."

Every day of the ten-week program at Williamstown was filled with different aspects of theater, from acting to auditioning to working on sets, painting and lights, Code said. At night and during off times, Code got to hang out with working actors, including Maura Tierney, an actress on the TV show E.R., Sam Rockwell, an actor in Iron Man 2, Jessica Hecht, an actress in Sideways, and Steven Weber, an actor in Wings.

"They're really nice people and they want to talk to you," Code said. "Maura hosted a pool party and she lent me her car to go buy more supplies for the cupcakes I was making in her kitchen."

Now back in New York, Code has gotten a job as a box office salesperson at the 59E59 Theaters, and she is just beginning to go on auditions for theater roles in the city.

"I love it. I'm meant to be a city person and I'm excited about auditioning," she said. "It's a full-time job just applying for auditions, but nothing's going to come to you automatically."

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