Way, way before Christy Altomare and Bob Lenzi made their Broadway debuts, they were elementary school classmates, middle school co-stars, high school theater nerds and of course, ultimate BFFs. After starring together in South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Camelot and more at Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills, PA, the duo headed to New York City, where Lenzi landed a role in South Pacific and Altomare currently stars as Sophie Sheridan in Mamma Mia! These BFFs have sure come a long way from Mrs. Weaver’s second grade class! The talented twosome invited Broadway.com photographer Jenny Anderson to join them for Starbucks lattes, home movies and board games on a crisp autumn day.
Check out our exclusive photo gallery of Christy and Bob!
How and when did you meet your BFF?
Christy: Bob was in my second grade class. He was new to the school, I think, and I probably said about two words to him the entire school year.
Bob: Mrs. Weaver’s second grade class.
What was your first impression of each other?
Christy: He was cute.
Bob: Well, I don’t think girls were on my radar too much in second grade. I probably just ignored her and went back to playing with my Game Boy or something like that.
When was the moment you knew it was BFF material?
Christy: Our friendship wasn’t immediate. We were thrown together in eighth grade when Bill Hallman, the director of Charles Boehm Middle School’s theater productions, cast us as Susan Lawrence and Josh Baskin in Big: The Musical. This was the first real lead role I ever had, and it was Bob’s first lead as well. We went on to star in most of Pennsbury High School’s musicals (Nellie and Emile, Maria and Captain Von Trapp, Guinevere and Lancelot, etc.).
Bob: In middle school, the first show we did together was Big: The Musical. Christy and I were asked to sing a song from the show at our high school for some cabaret/concert/fundraiser thing. I had never sung a solo in public before, and I was slightly terrified. But I survived with the help of Christy. And since I didn’t die, I figured she must be someone I’d want to have around in my life.
Name three adjectives to describe your BFF.
Christy: Smart, sincere, talented.
Bob: Dedicated, compassionate, just a little flighty (in the best way possible!)
What do you call each other?
Christy: Just Bob and Christy, but others called us our character names and even joke that we were Nala and Simba or Sandy and Danny. Pick any musical show couples.
Bob: Chris and Linda Johnston (in the appropriate cockney dialect).
If you formed a band together, what would its name be?
Christy: The Bob and Christy Show.
Bob: The Christy Altomare Band. Christy is just as comfortable playing her own music as she is acting on a Broadway stage. I think it’s best if I stand in the back for this one while she plays guitar and does her own thing. I’ll play cowbell…
What is the best gift your BFF ever got you?
Christy: In eighth grade, after Big, he gave me a silver bracelet that I’m sure his mom picked out. Thanks, Mrs. Lenzi.
Bob: In middle school, Christy wrote a song about me that ended up on her first CD. How many people can claim that?
What should the title of your BFF’s memoir be?
Christy: How to Survive High School Being a Musical Theater Geek. I never knew anyone with such a vast knowledge of theater. If you ever need a resource person for Broadway.com, he’s your man. He literally knows everything. I would ask him for monologues. I think he helped me pick out a Shakespearean monologue for my Juilliard audition. When we did South Pacific in ninth grade, he read South Pacific, the novel, in preparation. And ironically, he landed a role in the revival of South Pacific on Broadway before he graduated college.
Bob: The Adventures of Josh and Susan, Emile and Nellie, Von Trapp and Maria, The Narrator and Linda, Lancelot and Guenevere, Jamie and Cathy, Frank and Beth and Many Others. (Would that fit on a book cover?)
If you could be in any show together what would it be?
Christy: I’d love to do a revival of Jane Eyre. It would be fun to get to work together someday.
Bob: Hmm…Maybe we can do something like Death of a Salesman together when we’re both ready to retire. We can bookend our theatrical careers together.
What annoying habits do you find adorable in your BFF?
Christy: His vast knowledge of theater can be annoying because it makes me feel stupid sometimes. But I love him for it.
Bob: Christy needs to work out every little detail when we perform together! Sometimes it’s a little overkill, but I really love and respect her perfectionist side.
What trait do you admire most about each other?
Christy: Bob is a very passionate person, no matter what he does. He gives his all.
Bob: Christy has a really big heart and is an incredibly compassionate person.
Who is your friend’s celebrity equivalent and why?
Christy: He looks a lot like Taylor Lautner, but I think Bob could slip into any role Bradley Cooper ever played. He’s versatile and could do drama and comedy. I could also see him in an action film, yet he has this beautiful voice, so I guess he’s like Hugh Jackman, as well.
Bob: She has a sweet, down-to-earth quality like Jennifer Garner or Anne Hathaway.
What about your BFF makes you jealous?
Christy: I thought long and hard on this one, and there’s nothing that makes me jealous—just a lot that I admire.
Bob: She composes beautiful music!
I can always count on my BFF to…
Christy: Support me in whatever I do, personally and professionally, and to be there when it counts. I’m so lucky to have that kind of friend.
Bob: Listen, on stage and off.