For nearly 30 years, “Fame” has been inspiring burgeoning performers in their quest to make it in showbiz. As proof that Fame really does live forever, MGM studios is releasing a brand new film version set to hit theaters this Friday, September 25th. The release of the movie comes as students around the country head back to school in order to develop their talents and pursue their dreams.
And as this next generation of aspiring artists embraces Fame, it’s a great opportunity to look at the impact the title has made all over the world.
Before Fame became a pop cultural icon, it was just an idea thought up by one man, David DeSilva. Known by his nickname, “Father Fame”, DeSilva first created the story when he became fascinated by the idea of magnet schools, particularly New York City’s LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. De Silva conceived and developed the now classic 1980 film, as well as the television series, the reality show, and finally, the stage version of FAME: THE MUSICAL.
Although the show didn’t arrive in New York until 2004, FAME: THE MUSICAL was first presented at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida in 1988. Since then, it has become an international phenomenon, with productions in Spain, Australia, Japan, Poland, Hungary, Mexico and Korea, to name but a few. In London, the show has played six separate times since 1995, and has been running continuously at the Aldwych Theatre since 2002. The New York production played Off-Broadway at the Little Shubert Theater. It was directed by Drew Scott Harris and spawned a cast recording that was released in 2004.
In a review of the show, author and critic Brad Bradley wrote, “The score (excepting only the unavoidable iconic title tune written for the 1980 film and central to the six-year-long television series) is new, and quite attractive. Composer Steve Margoshes and Lyricist Jacques Levy have fashioned a collection of songs that effectively service their story and characters, and comfortably fit both the period and contemporary ears, including even manageable doses of Spanish in deference to the multi-cultural nature of the population, both onstage and in New York City in general. ”
Bradley cites highlights of the show’s score including, “I Want to Make Magic”, an actor’s vocal solo counter-pointed by an upstage violin lesson, “Think of Meryl Streep”; a gospel-style assertion by Q. Smith as a chubby street-wise girl who re-channels her dream from dancing to acting; ‘These are My Children”, Miss Sherman’s riveting blues anthem; and “Let’s Play a Love Scene”, a touching unexpected connection that is emblematic of the genuine emotional and theatrical center of this lovable show.”
In creating FAME: THE MUSICAL, DeSilva intended to allow enough flexibility for every director and young actor to put his or her own stamp on the show’s flavor.
But a few things do remain the same in the stage version: The iconic theme song, “Fame”, is still present along with the 1980s leg warmers and the trials and tribulations of everyday teen life.
When asked about the difference between a live, theatrical version of the show and as compared to a film or TV show, David DeSilva attests that, ”The creative process just stops once the camera stops rolling. Here, the creative process is infinite. It’s really gonna live forever as live theater”.
For more information about the new FAME movie, check out its official website. To learn more about FAME: THE MUSICAL, visit the official FAME website. To license FAME, check out its MTI show page. Share your thoughts about this article and discuss FAME at its MTI ShowSpace page.