You know a musical is wonderful when the audience leaves their seats feeling exhilarated. This is how the audience of Fame reacted after exiting the Academy of Music.
People walked away with tears, with laughter or just whistling a catchy tune. Fame took stage from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16. In only a few days, the show had the power to leave a lasting impression on the viewer.
Set in the 1980s, the characters of Fame wore vibrant and energetic clothes. From legwarmers to shirts hanging off the shoulder, the costumes were perfect for this musical. Fame takes place in New York’s high school of the performing arts. The student body is very selective and is filled with fame-seeking, egotistical, yet exceptionally talented teenagers.
Fame chronicles the students four year journey through high school from audition to graduation. The group consists of students with very different backgrounds and cultures. Issues such as racism, seduction, eating problems, homosexuality, broken hearts and sex are discussed through dialogue, song and dance.
The cast was well selected to connect the characters with the audience. Anthony Wayne, who played Tyrone, was amazing. He played the part of a streetwise African
American who is set up as ballet partners with Iris, played by Julie Burdick. The two even share a passionate kiss in the midst of their ballet practice. Mekia Cox, who played the cocky fame hungry Carmen, had an extraordinary voice. There were so many great voices in this musical.
During the part when Carmen tragically overdoses, a silence fell over the crowd as they watched intently. When the students graduated, it was as if the crowd genuinely related with them. It was uplifting to see the students achieve what they wanted so much through out high school.
The show was a wonderful performance with great costumes, flashy backdrops and a great cast. However, the play had a slow start. The sound, which faded in and out many times, needed some work.
According to David De Silva, creator of the play, Fame was based on the Academy Award-winning movie and the TV series which aired for six years in 68 countries.
Silva was inspired to create Fame from “magnet” schools which encourage the
performing arts. He is very concerned with incorporating art and theater with everyday schooling. He created the Father Fame Foundation which specializes in increasing the arts in education.
“I like to think that the musical can make a difference in the world. I also like to think that although the show is set in the 1980’s, it is both timely and timeless,” said Silva in the Fame playbill. “As a theater experience Fame will forever teach young people to grow their spirit, project their uniqueness, manifest their future and learn that they too can make a difference.”
Elizabeth Knauss can be reached at email@example.com.