Tony Danza Coming To CT With New Book

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Tony Danza was everybody’s favorite taxi driver on the TV show “Taxi” and everyone’s favorite single dad and housekeeper on “Who’s The Boss.” Now the former boxer and Broadway star is also known for his books, including his newest, “I’d Like To Apologize To Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year As A Rookie Teacher at Northeast High.”

The book tells the story of Danza’s tenure as a 10-grade English teacher at Philadelphia’s largest high school. The yearlong journey was also the subject of  his TV series “Teach: Tony Danza” on the A&E channel two years ago.

A single dad who divides his time between New York and Los Angeles, Danza will visit Connecticut on Sept. 20 to talk about his experience and his book courtesy of RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison.

With a couple of play and TV series projects in the works, Danza is still enthused and retrospective about his time as a teacher and what better time to Spill the Beans with Java then as a new school year begins?

Q: While reading the book, I was struck by how emotional you were, the breakdowns as you struggled with being a teacher and the demands. Did those emotions surprise you?

A: I was absolutely surprised how emotional I got although I am a bit of a crier. It was unbelievable. I think I had two stages of hysteria when I taught. There was that total fear that I would make a horrible mistake in front of people. There were days when I thought I had the greatest lesson plan and was going to make such a difference and then it didn’t happen. I think in the beginning I put too much pressure on myself and was making myself crazy. I was wondering if I was going to get my comeuppance. It’s a tremendous responsibility to be a teacher and I don’t think you understand until you are in front of the room and they are all staring at you. I felt like they only get one chance at 10th grade I have to make it happen.

Q: After that year and the discussion that seems to be never ending when it comes to education, do you think people still believe in public education? Is it still effective?

A: That is the question and there are factions that don’t believe it. I think that’s part of the push to privatization. I think we have to decide as a people if public education is worth the endeavor. These are America’s kids. We have to make a decision. I think public education is what made our country great. There was the time when no matter who you were or where you were from you went to the same school. Now there is a caste system. Know what the model of America is? E pluribus unum, out of many, one. You don’t hear that anymore. Now it’s “I got mine, what are you doing?” It’s crazy and the current culture doesn’t help.

Q: That said, tt would seem education reform is tied directly to politics. There have been suggestions you would run for office? Would you?

A: I did say something on a red carpet about running but I was not serious. I am not sure I could stand the scrutiny. But if I were running, my platform would be “e pluribus unum, we are in this together and until we remember that we hang together or die separately.”

Q: What was your best subject in school?

A: In high school, biology. I graduated from college as a history major.

Q: What was the one piece of advice you wanted your students to walk away with after a year in your classroom?

A: Make school count. One day you are going to be 60 like me and regret it. No matter what the obstacles, no parents, poverty, violence, whatever, you have to have an education. The hard part is lecturing about how good behavior and hard work will pay off and then they go home and watch something like “Jersey Shore.”

Q: What grade would you give public education in America?

A: I am not in a position to give a grade. I wish I were an expert.

Q: You have been single for about a year now following your divorce. How’s that going for you?

A: It’s different, really different.

Q: Would you want any of your own children to become teachers?

A: I would want them to follow the occupation that is in their hearts. My oldest son is a chef, we wrote a cookbook together, and I have a daughter in the fashion business and another that is an arts major in college.

Q: Who was your favorite teacher?

A: Charles Messenger. He was my English teacher and produced the musical shows at our school every year. You could be in his class and he would transport you to Broadway. He had enthusiasm and you knew he loved what he was doing. He got it.

Q: What’s next for you professionally?

A: I’m trying to get “Honeymoon in Vegas” on Broadway and am in the very initial stages of a new TV sit com.

Q: What is something no one knows about you?

A: I play the ukulele and sing along. It puts my voice in a place I kind of like.

The event will be held at the Walter C Polson Middle School, 302 Green Hill Road in Madison at 7 p.m. Ticket information: conta.cc/QnNNCa

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11 thoughts on “Tony Danza Coming To CT With New Book

  1. Peggie Parrott

    You must not be very nice if you think that of Tony Danza. Tony is like his characters, fun, sincere, very very likeable, and with a sense of humor.

  2. Victoria

    I remember seeing him on the street corner in New York and I was in a Airport Limo Taxi. I was pounding on the window screaming, “It’s Tony Danza!”. He looked at me and started immitating me… We started to drive away and we both laughed and smiled and he waved to me. Loved him since Taxi~ Would have loved to attend the book signing – but I now reside in IL. Congratulations on your book Tony! I am sure it will be a best seller! ;)

  3. john

    I met Tony in Washington D.C. at the annual Italian Day gala and he appeared to me to be a regular guy. We only talked for a few minutes, but I got the impression he was a genuine caring person. I would very much like to go to lunch with him and talk to him about his career and how he handled the fame that went along with it. Being from ct. I will try to go to his book event and maybe ask him.

  4. Ludy

    I met him in Los Angeles, NATPE convention he was very nice and was very excited around TV producers. Good luck Tony with your book!

  5. Bill

    I have to agree with d pace. My wife walked over to him during intermission of Jersey Boys and told him that she was a long time fan of his. His response was, “I really don’t care.” That brief comment turned her off him for life.

  6. Eileen Smith

    I saw Tony back in 1987 at a skating rink when he was with rob stone and kirk cameron. He wink at me twice and i have never forgot it, I have follow him for years and had such a crush on him,,,back then..lol.. We are the same age, both italian, and he is so down to earth… Anyways,,, I so hope he get that sitcom going would love to see him on tv for awhile again..If I lived up in Conneticut,, I would so be there…Thanks

  7. Dee

    I have not met Tony, but have always been a fan. Love him! Watched all his shows, including the talk show. He is old school hollywood-acts, sings, dances. What a guy.
    Good luck on all your projects, really hope the tv show works out. Would love to see ya on the tube again.
    Wish I could come to Ct.
    #1 Fan

  8. Marilyn R.

    Sigh… if we all would just go easier on ourself’s; life would be easier to entreat, to endure, to live out.
    Public Education prods students into a class room in the same manner cattle are prodded into a pen and led to their death. Public Education needs to PERSONALIZE each students ciriculum and NOT DEMAND each student keep the same exact pace with the other. That may be convienant for the school system but is devastating for the students that aren’t strong in academics but are mechanically inclined instead. It is unrealistic not to indiviualize school systems. No two snowflakes are alike as are no children either. How many students hated school because they stood out differently and were presecuted for it… by teachers as well as students? How many students hated school for the shame and embrassment of simply being unregimented or out of step?
    Don’t apologise to teachers. Some of the meanest people our children are handed over to are teachers.
    The Public School System needs to stop worrying about competing with China and Japan schoolastically and start concerinng itself with how to make school more sucessful for ALL students, not just the ones that fit in the box. Marilyn R.

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