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! Corey Cott may be Newsies matinee hunk now, but the Broadway star wasn’t always so suave. Below, Cott looks back on the Smash Mouth tune that underscored his high school experience, pulling one over on the yearbook and more.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Oh, man—toughie! My junior and senior year of high school, I took AP English with Ms. (Bobbie Jo) Serensky (a.k.a. the coolest name ever). She revolutionized the way I write and read literature. She challenged us on an extremely high level. She always expected the best out of us, but she treated us with respect, and we respected her back. Lots of fun times with good ol’ Bobbie Jo! (I graduated, so now I take advantage of calling my teachers by their first names). Also, I passed both AP tests with a four —which naturally meant nothing in acting school.
What advice would you give to your school-age self?
AP tests mean nothing in acting school. Chill out, son.
In school you would have been named “most likely to…”
No joke—I was voted “First to Get Married” out of my graduating class. I think I was actually the third to get married, but that’s still pretty close! Also, the yearbook staff predicts where everyone will be in five to 10 years, and for me, all they said was “On Broadway.” #NailedIt
What song sums up your school experience and why?
“All Star” by Smash Mouth. “You’ll never know if you don’t go. You’ll never shine if you don’t glow.” Poetry! I am pretty sure this is the only song that was blasted at our seventh grade dance and our senior prom. #Timeless
What’s your favorite back to school item?
New shoes! Airwalks, Adidas “Stan Smiths,” Pumas—I had them all. My parents always bought me a new pair before the first day of school. So I was always stylin’ (I thought I was).
What class did you dread and why?
I really wasn’t a fan of anything math related. I just didn’t care. I took AP calculus my senior year. Toward the end of February, one afternoon, I got the email from Carnegie Mellon University that I was accepted into the musical theater program. The next period I went and dropped calculus—knowing full well it wouldn’t serve me whatsoever at CMU.
What is your most embarrassing school moment?
Besides that incredibly sexy photo [above]? After school one day my friend “pantsed” me in the hallway. I was wearing sweats, so he mistakenly also grabbed my underwear, and everything was exposed. #You’llNeverShineIfYouDon’tGlow
In which extracurricular activities did you participate?
Tricky question: If you go by the yearbook’s standards, I participated in every club/activity my school offered. On the day club photos were taken, my three best friends and I would sneak into every picture. I think they cracked down on us once we popped up in the “Asian-Awareness Club” photo. I actually kept myself pretty busy. I was in National Honors Society, Student Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Drama Club. I played basketball (freshman year) and golf (freshman, sophomore, junior year). Then I would take voice lessons and do as many plays/musicals as possible all over the Cleveland area. I definitely didn’t sleep too much in high school.
Describe your school-age self in three words.
Goofy. Stressed. Passionate.