Fame (musical)

Fame – The Musical (based on the 1980 movie by Alan Parker) conceived and developed by David De Silva is a musical with a book by Jose Fernandez, music by Steve Margoshes and lyrics by Jacques Levy. De Silva was fascinated by New York's High School for Performing Arts (Which became Fiorello H. LaGuardia HS of Music and Art and Performing Arts in 1984) and created first the 1980 film about how the dedicated students there were inspired by the arts. The film was followed by a long-running television series, a reality show, and finally the musical. The musical is significantly rewritten from the previous adaptations, with an almost entirely new score.

First produced in 1988 in Miami, Florida, Fame – the Musical has enjoyed numerous professional and amateur productions. The musical has been seen by nearly 4 million people since its West End premiere in 1995. The West End production was nominated for 2 Laurence Olivier Awards. The show played in New York Off-Broadway at the Little Schubert Theatre in 2003-04, for a total of 304 performances. On April 4, 2008 FAME opened in Paris at the Teatre Comedia to great acclaim.

David De Silva has conceived a sequel to FAME, FAME FOREVER, a Story of Reunion and Rebirth (Book by Ben H. Winters, Music by Steve Margoshes) first performed by Glasgow's Apollo Players at the Kings Theatre 2007. The American debut of the sequel production entitled Fame Forever: Reunion and Rebirth opened September 21 with a gala performance and continued through September 30, 2007 at the Waterville Opera House, Waterville, Maine. It also received a co-debut at The Players of Sarasota in Sarasota, Florida opening around the same time, but running to October 7. This debut show at The Players, as it is called locally, was directed by performer, choreographer, and actor Thomas DeWyane Barrett.

Plot summary

Note: the plot outlined below is for the professional script. The amateur production has slight differences in the script.Act I A group of vibrant, multi-ethnic, energetic young people gather to audition to study at New York City's High School of Performing Arts. Miss Sherman the homeroom teacher, warns the freshman class that it takes a lot more than dreams to succeed at "P.A." The students acknowledge that it takes ("Hard Work"). In drama class, Nick and Serena rehearse a scene and discuss their life experiences. Nick, an ex-child actor with serious ambition, wants to move people emotionally ("I Want to Make Magic"). Mr. Myers, the drama teacher asks them to think about how a physical sensation can trigger an emotional response. Joe discusses the physical reactions that happen whenever he thinks of a beautiful girl in dance class ("Can't Keep it Down" or the alternative lyrics, "Can't Keep It Cool"). Meanwhile, in dance class, Tyrone, is partnered with Iris, a ballerina. Iris mocks Tyrone's lack of classical dance experience. Tyrone, enraged at her comments, begins a rap expressing his anger ("Tyrone's Rap"). Iris apologizes and kisses him passionately. Nick and Serena are rehearsing another scene and Serena confesses that she wants to try something romantic and passionate. Serena is in love with Nick. Nick is mainly focused on acting. Trying to work out why he isn't interested in her, Serena blunderingly assumes that he is gay, says so and he becomes upset and leaves. Serena laments her unrequited love ("Let's Play a Love Scene"). Afterwards, Carmen interrupts Schlomo while he practices his violin, giving him lyrics that she wrote for the melody he always plays. Schlomo tries them out, and changes some of the lyrics with Carmen, which results in Carmen joining the band. Carmen kisses Schlomo and leaves. Goody(also in the band, along with Lambchops) makes fun of Schlomo afterwards. At lunch, Carmen and the other students daydream of seeing their names in lights ("There She Goes/Fame"). In the hallway, Miss Sherman talks to Tyrone about his care-free attitude towards education. She threatens to keep him out of the Fall Festival if his grades don't improve. Miss Bell overhears and argues that Tyrone's artistic endeavors are more important than his academic performance ("The Teachers' Argument"). Tyrone threatens to drop out of school.Act II

The students begin their junior year with the P.A. Fall Festival ("I Want to Make Magic").

At a dance rehearsal, Mabel, an overweight dancer, complains about retaining water, and other problems she faces with the size of her body. She prays aloud for God's help in keeping her from becoming "the world's fattest dancer" ("Mabel's Prayer"), eventually having an epiphany and deciding to switch her major to acting. Later, Nick congratulates Serena for getting the lead female role of Juliet in their junior show, Romeo and Juliet. Serena gets excited and assumes that Nick got the role of Romeo. However, she is surprised to learn that Joe Vegas has the role of Romeo and Nick got the part of Mercutio. Later, Nick is winding down with some Tai Chi with a fellow student when Carmen, enraged that Mr Myers has yet again thwarted her plans to audition outside of school, kisses him as an example of what she does to calm down. At that moment, Serena walks in on them, and refuses to hear Nick's protests that she didn't just see what she thinks she saw. Now believing that he is, indeed, straight but still unattainable, Serena tries to channel her emotions into her acting ("Think of Meryl Streep"). Carmen tells Schlomo of her plan to leave school and go to Los Angeles. She has met a Hollywood agent named Elliot Greene, who is sending her a plane ticket. Schlomo begs her not to go. He had seen her getting into Elliot’s limousine and accuses her of using cocaine with him. Schlomo tells Carmen he loves her, but is left alone with his violin/flute/keyboard(depending on what the actor can actually play).

In English class, Tyrone is reading a Superman comic book. Miss Sherman catches him, and forces him to stand up in front of the class and read from the comic book. He accuses her of trying to make him look stupid. He then accuses her of racism, Miss Sherman slaps him in the face and walks off. Tyrone says to his classmates he doesn’t need her help, or the ability to read or write - he is a dancer, and that's all he needs (“Dancin’ on the Sidewalk.”). Confronting his pain and frustration, Tyrone goes to the blackboard, writes “I WILL READ,” and runs off. Miss Sherman enters, sees what he has written, and is deeply touched. (“These Are My Children.”)

The students rehearse Romeo and Juliet. Joe, insecure playing Romeo, has been ad-libbing. Serena pleads with him to be serious in the part. Nick, while trying to explain to Joe how to play the part, hints that he and Serena are like Romeo and Juliet. They stage kiss and Serena is no longer mad at Nick - if now a bit confused. Tyrone asks Iris why she has been avoiding him all year. She says she doesn’t want to be tied to a loser. To show her that he is serious, he begins reading Leaves of Grass to her.

A few of the teachers confront Miss Bell about influencing a summer school teacher to pass Tyrone. They insist he must repeat the year. The "Dance Theater of Harlem" is ready to take him, but he must repeat the year. Miss Bell finally admits she may be losing her perspective and decides to take a break. Carmen is standing in front of the school looking physically wasted and disoriented. She spots Schlomo and tells him the truth about her experiences in Hollywood (“In L.A.”). Carmen promises him that she will quit the drugs and get her GED. He gives her a couple of dollars and sadly departs.

At the farewell party, everyone is dressed up and the celebration is loud and festive. Nick finally confesses his feelings to Serena and they decided to try to date although they are heading to different colleges (Let's Play a Love Scene (Reprise)). On the day of the graduation ceremony, Scholomo tells everyone that Carmen has passed away a short while ago from a drug overdose, and they sing "Bring On Tomorrow" in her memory.

After the bows, Carmen comes back and sings "Fame" for the Finale. The students are all heading off in their respective directions excited about the future.

Character list

  • Nick Piazza - Ambitious, enthusiastic, classical actor who is very serious about acting. Has hidden romantic interest for Serena.
  • Serena Katz - A shy, timid yet keen and enthusiastic actress. Develops returned romantic feelings for Nick.
  • Jose 'Joe' Vegas - Spanish acting student. Loud, funny and the comic of the show. Develops an unreturned crush on Carmen.
  • Carmen Diaz - A sexy, confident but cocky dancer with a big ego. Carmen is determined to make it big and is obsessed with fame, she believes she has what it takes to achieve this. Has returned romantic feelings for Schlomo.
  • Tyrone Jackson - A dyslexic hip hop dancer who comes from a lower income background. Shares a love-hate relationship with Iris whom he constantly argues with, despite this they eventually kiss and he realizes his true feelings towards her.
  • Mabel Washington- A loud and chubby dancer who is desperate to lose weight but can't resist food. Often speaks her mind and gives out advice to other characters in their times of trouble.
  • Iris Kelly - A very talented, graceful ballet dancer who is believed to be extremely wealthy although it is later revealed that she is not. Iris is insecure with herself and afraid people do not like her. She shares a love-hate relationship with Tyrone whom she constantly argues with, despite this they eventually kiss and she realizes her true feelings towards him.
  • Schlomo Metzenbaum - Shy classical violinist in a rock band he set up. Schlomo comes from a musical background and his father is a famous violinist. Schlomo is fed up from the strain of being expected to do well and wishes to rebel. Has a returned romantic interest in Carmen.
  • Grace 'Lambchops' Lamb - A loud, confrontational rock chick and tomboy who plays the drums for Schlomo's band. She often loses her temper and it is implied that she does not take school seriously.
  • Goodman 'Goody' King - A trumpet/saxophone musician who is in Schlomo's band. Is believed to be Schlomo's best friend.
  • Miss Esther Sherman - A strict, old-fashioned and academic English teacher who loves her students despite the fact that she comes down hard on them.
  • Ms. Greta Bell - Dance teacher with a big passion for different styles of dance. Believes that dance is a way of life.
  • Mr. Myers - A laid back drama teacher with an obsession for human psychology.
  • Mr. Shienkopf - European Music tutor with a love for classical music and hatred for all things rock and roll.

Award nominations

  • Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Choreographer
  • Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical


  • 1993: Fame The Musical: Swedish Cast Recording
  • 1993: Fama El Musical: Original Hispanoamericano Recording
  • 1995: Fame The Musical: Original London Cast Recording
  • 1997: Fame Das Tanzmusical: European Touring Cast Recording
  • 1997: Fame The Musical: Polish Cast Recording
  • 1999: Fame The Musical: Original American Cast Recording
  • 2000: Songs from Fame The Musical: Australian Touring Cast Recording
  • 2000: Fame De Musical: Original Dutch Cast Recording
  • 2001: Fame A Musical: Original Hungarian Cast Recording
  • 2003: Fame on 42nd Street: Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording
  • 2004: Fama El Musical: Original Barcelona Cast Recording
  • 2004: Fame: Icelandic Cast Recording
  • 2005: "'Fame - O Musical"': Original Portuguese Cast Recording
  • 2006: Fama El Musical: Original Madrid Cast Recording
  • 2007: Fame A Musical: Remake of the Hungarian Fame not with the original cast
  • 2008: De Nederlandse Fame: Dutch Revival Cast Recording

Information taken from

Musical Numbers

Act I

  • Pray I Make P.A (Prologue) - Company
  • Hard Work - Company
  • I Want to Make Magic - Nick
  • Dance Class - Miss Bell and Students
  • Can't Keep It Down - Joe, Students
  • Tyrone's Rap - Tyrone
  • There She Goes! /Fame - Carmen, Students
  • Let's Play a Love Scene -Serena
  • Bring on Tomorrow - Schlomo, Carmen
  • Teacher's Argument - Miss Bell, Miss Sherman
  • Hard Work (Reprise) - Company
Act II

  • I Want to Make Magic (Reprise) - Company
  • Mabel's Prayer - Mabel, Students
  • Think of Meryl Streep - Serena
  • Dancin' on the Sidewalk - Tyrone, Students
  • These Are My Children - Miss Sherman
  • Pas de Deux - Tyrone and Iris
  • In L.A. - Carmen
  • Let's Play a Love Scene (Reprise) - Nick and Serena
  • Bring on Tomorrow (Reprise) - Schlomo, Students
  • Finale: Hard Work/Fame (Reprise) - Company

The music used in the Dance Class is based on Beethoven's Spring Sonata. Also, the Pas De Deux uses music from the ballet "This Is Forever" by Steve Margoshes. However, some productions use music for the Pas De Deux by Mark Berman.

Some productions such as Fame on 42nd Street use the song "There She Goes! (Reprise)" (also known as "The Fall Festival") as an alternative to "I Want to Make Magic (Reprise)". This version has a more Spanish theme to the song. However, it still contains elements of the "I Want to Make Magic (Reprise)" in it.

Productions around the world

In 1988, Fame – the Musical was first produced at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, Florida. Following this, in 1989 the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania hosted the show to sell-out houses. The cast included Harold Perrineau Jr. as Tyrone Jackson. In January 1993, a large-scale production of the musical made its European debut in Stockholm, Sweden, running for four years, and the show came to the attention of choreographer/director Runar Borge, who has subsequently staged the show in numerous productions worldwide. The musical has had productions in countries such as Australia, Denmark, Japan, Korea, Norway, Switzerland, South Africa, Germany, Italy, Finland, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

Fame – the Musical has been produced in nearly 25 countries, and the UK productions have had a total box office gross of £56 million through 2006. Since 1995, the musical has had six separate West End runs, including a long run at the Aldwych Theatre from 2002 to 2006, and a number of UK national and international tours. It also had a run Off-Broadway at the Little Shubert Theatre in 2003, directed by Drew Scott Harris, with a cast that included Shakiem Evans, Nicole Leach, Cheryl Freeman, Christopher J. Hanke, and American Idol semi-finalist, Marque Lynche, as Tyrone Jackson. There have also been several U.S. regional and foreign Tours. Well-known cast members in various productions have included Miguel Ayesa, Noel Sullivan, and Barbara Dickson.

A Spanish production in Catalan Spanish opened at the Teatro Tivoli in Barcelona on April 27, 2004, directed by Ramon Ribalta. It reopened in Madrid at the Calderon February 1, 2006, and is presently touring Spain through June 2008.

A Portuguese production has been playing since 2005. It is the first American musical to be performed fully in Portuguese.

In 2006, contestants from various seasons of the popular Puerto Rican telelvision singing contest "Objetivo Fama" did a Spanish language production of the musical, entitled "Fama - El Musical" in the Centro de Bellas Artes in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was a three-night only engagement and was met with positive reviews by the press and fans alike.

An Italian production directed by Marco Daverio opened in Milan in December 2006 and toured through February 2007. It reopened on February 2, 2008 in Savona and toured through the end of the month.

The musical opened on May 4, 2007, for a summer production at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London's West End. The show is directed by Karen Bruce, and the cast includes Fem Belling as Mabel, Natalie Casey as Serena, Jacqui Dubois as Miss Sherman, and Ian Watkins as Nick.

In 2007, A Dutch talent search competition called De Weg Naar Fame auditioned a large number of people in order to give four winners the chance to play Mabel, Serena, Schlomo and Tyrone in the 2008 Dutch Tour of Fame. The show gave the finalists dance, vocal and acting training, and the three finalists for each character performed a piece from the musical in front of a panel of judges who made the final decision. The Dutch version stars Jim Bakkum as Nick, William Spaay as Joe, Kim-Lian van der Meij as Carmen, Hein Gerrits as Schlomo, Doris Baaten as Miss Sherman, and Daphne Flint as Serena.


External links

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