Oct. 07--Once upon a time, there lived in Stockton a little boy who liked to act in plays.
"He was putting on things in our garage," recalled his mother, Sharon Fontana. "He was in kindergarten, we did a Thanksgiving thing. He was the turkey."
The little boy went to Oakwood Elementary School. "In second grade, he came to me and he wanted to take tap dancing lessons. I remember people saying, 'How did you get him to do that?' We didn't."
The little boy took piano, too. But his parents did not see the pattern emerging. "We didn't take it very seriously. He was always playing baseball, playing soccer. All the normal things kids do."
The family moved out of Stockton in 1992. They moved to Washington state. The little boy, who was growing up now, got a part in a school musical.
"We really didn't even know he had much of a voice. He was 12, he was playing the Artful Dodger. He sang 'Consider Yourself at Home' and we thought 'Oh my goodness.' "
Still, "I just thought he'd go to school and maybe be a lawyer."
The young man did go to school: the University of Minnesota's Actor Training Program. Moving to New York, he got a part in an off-Broadway production of "The Fantasticks."
He went on to land minor roles in Broadway shows, then feature roles; and today, Santino Fontana is playing Prince Topher in the Broadway musical "Cinderella."
He was nominated for a Tony. He is the voice of Hans in the upcoming Disney movie "Frozen."
From turkey to Tony. "I just did not project that," his mother said.
Contact columnist Michael Fitzgerald at (209) 546-8270 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his blog at www.recordnet.com/fitzgeraldblog.
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