As kids all over America head back to school, Broadway.com decided to ask our favorite Broadway stars to look back at their own years in the classroom—and share a school picture! Tony nominee Gavin Lee, who originated the role of Bert on both sides of the Atlantic in Disney's Mary Poppins, recalls getting in trouble, itching to get out of school and his very dull German teacher.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My art teacher, Mr. Wilson. He was a brilliant artist and he did community theatre, as did I, so we had things to talk about! He gave me an 'A' for my final exam because he said my art work was always very imaginative. If you saw me try to draw or paint today, you'd realize I didn't quite deserve that 'A'!
What advice would you give to your school-age self?
"Chill out and just get on with it." I was itching to be done with school because, by about 13, I knew I wanted to go off to performing arts college. Looking back, high school only lasted a few years! I should have relaxed and tried to enjoy and get more out of it.
What song sums up your school experience and why?
When I hear songs by Madness like "Baggy Trousers" and "Our House" it takes me right back to my school days. Those songs were definitely top of the charts for me back then.
What’s your favorite back to school item?
I had this cheap, black, plastic briefcase that I carried my books and stuff in. I thought it was very cool. It wasn't a proper grown-up briefcase that a few of the brain-box nerds had inherited from their dads!!? I graffitied it up a bit—but now I think of it, it was still pretty geeky.
What class did you dread and why?
I hated German—it wasn't the subject, it was the incredibly dull, dull, dull teacher.
What is your most embarrassing school moment?
Only a couple of times in my school life did I get shouted at by the teacher and sent out of the class for messing around. I was always mortified having to take that walk of shame to the door.
In which extracurricular activities did you participate?
The drama club (surprise surprise!)
Describe your school-age self in three words.
Bespectacled, lanky, spotty. Hahaha!
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