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Home > Current Buzz > FAME, A Hit in Putnam Co High School, NY.

Creating a legacy: ‘Fame, the Musical’ hit at PCHS

November 8, 2012

One Act-Carmen Diaz
Drama queen Carmen Diaz, played by LeAnne Meggs, is adored by her classmates during one scene.

The motion picture won Oscars and a Golden Globe award in 1980, and a one-act version of it was no less of a phenomenon at Putnam County High School.

“Fame, the Musical” was performed three times by the Putnam County High School drama class last week – once Thursday evening and twice on Saturday – in the school’s Black Box Theater.

“There’s only one thing wrong with it – it wasn’t long enough,” Teresa Willoughby said after watching the Saturday afternoon performance.

“I like how they put their all into it. They did a great job,” Cedric Woods said.

The students’ production of the play took first-place in Region 4AA competition on Oct. 18, where four individual students also earned awards, and one student performance took top honors in the state competition Oct. 27.

Fine Arts teacher Jenny Morris said all three region judges gave PCHS first place.

“It’s a monumental event for this school and one of my hopes for this program to win top awards,” she said.

“My goal is to create a fine arts legacy in this community. I push the excellence factor, so I’m super proud of them.”

With what senior Demetrius Woods described as “a lot of dramatic high and low points … and very energetic,” the musical tells the story of a group of students who’ve committed to four years of artistic training and academic work at the High School for the Performing Arts in New York City.

Combining the portrayals of inner-city youths and strict teachers with choreographed dances to contemporary pop music, the musical allowed Morris to showcase the talents of quite a few students.

“When you get a lot of unique personalities and find the best strengths and push it to the limits, then you get a great show,” said senior Aaron Jacobs, who won the award for best actor in the region.

“Plus, it’s the (most fun) show I’ve done.”

Aaron played Tyrone Jackson, a student who excels in dance, but struggles in academics. Aaron said his part was hard because his character was “mean and aggressive, and that’s not me at all.”

“I went in the bathroom and yelled my lines at the mirror so I could make sure I had the right expression,” he said, adding that he plans to attend Georgia State University and major in theater next year.

Micianna Yarbrough was named best supporting actress in the region for her portrayal of Iris Kelly, a student with a passion for classical ballet. Micianna said she worried when she first got the part because she “knows nothing about ballet, but Ms. Morris showed me how to do it.”

“It really surprised us when we got first,” the petite senior said. “But seeing all the other good acts there made us want to do even better than them.”

Demetrius and junior Selena Nieto each won an all-star cast award at the region competition, and Demetrius won the same award at the state level.

Morris said the award recognizes students with smaller roles who “give it 110 percent throughout the entire drama, no matter which role they are in at the time.”

Selena said she played “Grace Lamb, a super-loud, in-your-face kind of girl.”

Although it wasn’t a lead role, the character seemed to spend a good deal of time in the spotlight on stage.

Selena said she was surprised to land the role, because she only started taking drama in second semester last year.

“It’s the first time ever for me to get any kind of lead because I’m super-new to acting,” she said.

“After I won the award, I thought ‘I guess I’m doing something right.’ I was shocked.”

Demetrius, who played Mr. Meyers, the acting teacher, has the most on-stage experience of all the individual winners.

He said he has been taking drama since ninth grade.

Although addressing his classmates “from a teachers’ point of view” was a different experience, Demetrius said the part wasn’t too difficult.

He’s the only one of the three who doesn’t plan to pursue theater after school. Instead he wants to major in broadcast journalism. But he still loves the class.

“It’s a class where we work hard for months, and then watch all our work pay off in an hour,” he said with a smile.


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