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Theatre Information

Freedom High School Fame

By • Apr 30th, 2013 • Category: Cappies, Virginia

“Remember my name!” The select group of promising young artists at the High School of Performing Arts in New York City are driven by the ardent desire to make a name for themselves. How much are they willing to sacrifice to see their dreams become reality? This and more are revealed in Freedom High School’s electrifying production of Fame.

Based on the 1980 movie of the same name, the vivacious spirit of Fame took the stage under the direction of David De Silva, with book by Jose Fernandez, music by Steve Margoshes and lyrics by Jacques Levy. The musical made its debut in 1988 in Miami, Florida, as Fame on 42nd Street, and was later showcased in an Off-Broadway run from 2003 to 2004. Set in the context of the emerging artistic styles of the 80s, this show intertwines the individual challenges of eleven uncommonly talented students. As they grapple with the trials of their adolescence and of their art, these teens compete for the triumph of fame.

The spotlight of the night was stolen by Telos Fuller in the role of Tyrone, a dyslexic, macho dancer. From the moment Fuller first swaggered onto the stage, he had a gravitational presence, bolstered by his rich voice and pure suave. He carried the drama of the show, particularly in “Tyrone’s Rap,” where he embraced the unique stylization in a crescendo of emotional intensity. Shelly Walsh, as the quirky actress Serena, was another standout. Her adorably spastic demeanor and innocent crush on ambitious actor Nick Paizza (Nate McGraw) charmed the audience members. As Walsh and McGraw interacted in their duets, their natural chemistry and melodic harmonies made them a heart-warming pair.

Though the ensemble cast at times seemed to lack enthusiasm, there were many dance scenes that showcased explosive choreography. Additionally, a number of supporting performers ignited the stage: Matthew Stewart, as the love-stricken class clown Joe, made the audience roar with laughter with his over-the-top expressions and deadpan comic delivery. Sierra Orr, as the larger than life dancer Mabel, was also wonderfully hilarious in her song “Maybel’s Prayer,” as she laments the ineffectiveness of her “see-food” diet in which seeing food is always a prelude to eating it. Two of the teachers at the arts academy, Ms. Sherman (Corinne MacLean) and Ms. Greta Bell (Jackie Mass) approached their roles with impressive maturity, as they fought over the importance of the arts and academics with captivating intensity.

Despite several minor issues, the technical elements contributed to the vivacious vibe of the production. The 80s-style costumes were eye-catching and funky, and, with the help of the performers’ period hair and make up, they transported the audience back to the age of disco and leg warmers. Though sound glitches tripped up a few scenes, the jiving beats of the orchestra enhanced the lively atmosphere.

In a show brimming with talent, Freedom High School’s unforgettable production of Fame certainly made the audience “remember its name.”

by Marielle Burt of McLean High School

Photo Gallery

Amanda Starkey, Jewel Thomas, Victoria Romano, Jamie Galpin, Morgan Taylor, Molly McDonald, Katheryne Dean Entire cast
Amanda Starkey, Jewel Thomas, Victoria Romano, Jamie Galpin, Morgan Taylor, Molly McDonald, Katheryne Dean
Entire cast
Front four are Morgan Taylor, Telos Fuller, Jackie Mass and Katheryne Dean Kathernyne Dean flying through the air
Front four are Morgan Taylor, Telos Fuller, Jackie Mass and Katheryne Dean
Kathernyne Dean flying through the air

Photos provided by Freedom High School

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