On Monday, July 1, the Tony-nominated stars of Broadway's Cinderella, Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana, will host the 2013 High School Musical Theater Awards at the Minskoff Theatre. The evening will feature performances by 62 talented high school students from across the country who are out to prove they have what it takes to cut it on the Great White Way. Before Osnes and Fontana perform their hostly duties, we wanted to find out more about what they were like as wee babes with big Broadway dreams of their own. The pair graciously took time out of their busy Broadway schedules to guide us on a trip down memory lane — or at least their high school hallways.

<i>Cinderella</i> stars Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes.
Cinderella stars Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes.
(© David Gordon)

Santino Fontana
Santino Fontana
(© David Gordon)
What was your first high school show and what role did you play (acting or otherwise)?
I was Lenny in Neil Simon's Rumors and Magruder in Anyone Can Whistle my freshman year.

What's the most dramatic showmance you remember from high school?
I had gone to Homecoming my freshman year with the girl who [ended up playing] Rosemary to my Finch in How to Succeed in my senior year, while going to a dance with the girl who was playing Hedy LaRue. Scandalous.

Which subject in school did you blow off to do theater?
None. I was a perfect student.

Tell us about your worst high school audition.
I think I blocked it.

Tell us a story about your favorite/craziest high school drama teacher.
What I remember most was the core group of upperclassmen who did the plays in my high school, all of whom are still friends I try and keep in touch with, who really introduced me to theater in a whole new way. I'll never forget them telling me the story of Sweeney Todd on a school bus. I was hooked.


Laura Osnes
Laura Osnes
(© David Gordon)
What was your first high school show and what role did you play (acting or otherwise)?
Chava in Fiddler on the Roof, the fall of my freshman year — I was the only freshman in a principal role, haha!

What's the most dramatic showmance you remember from high school?
OY, my friend Pete asked me to prom before a performance of Peter Pan... He and four other Lost Boys each wrote a letter (L-A-U-R-A) on their bare chests, and then they turned around and on their backs was P-R-O-M-?. HAHAHAA! I said yes and we dated for about six months, but there wasn't much "drama" in the showmance.

Which subject in school did you blow off to do theater?
I was always a very good student, 3.98 GPA...But once I found out I only had to take math and science for two years, I didn't take them junior or senior year. And I convinced my high school to give me actual credits for doing professional shows in Minneapolis…as work-study.

Tell us about your worst high school audition.
Wow, I barely remember my high school auditions... Hmmm. The only one I really remember was actually for a community theater production of Grease. I was [one of] the final few girls to play Sandy and I didn't get. But it's okay because I got to do it on Broadway five years later.

Tell us a story about your favorite/craziest high school drama teacher.
Mr. Dennis Swanson directed all the high school musicals, and he retired from teaching my senior year. He still goes back to direct the summer community theater productions as well as occasional plays and musicals at the high school. I actually did my very first show with him before I was even in high school — I played Amaryllis in Eagan High School's production of The Music Man when I was in third grade. Denny and I went on to do over ten productions together throughout my childhood. I attribute much of my love for theater to him and his belief in, loyalty to, and fondness of me. We still keep in touch every few months via e-mail. He's a very special man.