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! In her hilarious answers, Anne L. Nathan (Baruska in Once) offers some straight talk about the horrors of high school, plus a groovy prom picture of herself and pal Doug Besterman, who grew up to be a three-time Tony-winning Broadway orchestrator!
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Definitely my music teacher, Vinnie Virgillio. He was wonderful: patient, funny, and he taught me how to conduct the West Side Story overture. I could actually do it right now! Like riding a bike! He made me love all things music and helped me get through the often traumatic high school experience.
What advice would you give to your school-age self?
Don’t go to a party, get drunk and pass out the night before you leave for college and make your dad pick you up at 4:00AM. That is my advice. If I even hear the word “Quarters” I have a flashback. But my more serious answer goes back to soooo much crying over boys in high school. I would say, “Have fun, enjoy the experience and calm the heck down. There will be many more boys along the way.”
In school, you would have been named “most likely to…”
Corny, I know, but, “be on Broadway.” I was that geeky theater kid.
What song sums up your school experience and why?
“Born to Run.” All things Springsteen. We were all kind of obsessed with him and his music.
What’s your favorite back to school item?
Homemade book covers. Old-school style.
What class did you dread and why?
All things math. Never understood it and don’t actually know how I passed.
What is your most embarrassing school moment?
Probably singing excerpts from the talent show in the cafeteria during lunch period. They HATED it/me. And I’m fairly certain that things were thrown. We mayyy have been singing “Pretty Lady” from Pacific Overtures. Because every high schooler wants to hear that while eating lunchtime pizza.
In which extracurricular activities did you participate?
Marching band, choir, jazz band, orchestra and every school play. I recall a few rock band experiences, as well—and we played Springsteen.
Describe your school-age self in three words.
Bette Midler Wannabe
Click here for more School Days memories from your favorite stars.