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Home > Current Buzz > Eerie Similarities FAME's Carmen & Whitney Houston


By Simon Martin
Feb 17, 2012

Unionville Theatre Co. presents Fame: The Musical

Fame and fun. Unionville Theatre Company members act out a scene during the rehearsal at St. Brother Andre for their upcoming production, Fame, to be staged at the Markham Theatre Feb. 23-26. Staff Photo/Nick Iwanyshyn

Despite the fact Fame was written more than 30 years ago, the musical is more relevant for society than ever.
The eerie similarities between the life of the main character, Carmen, and recently deceased pop sensation Whitney Houston are just one reason to check out the Unionville Theatre Company’s performance of the Fame: The Musical, Feb. 22 to 26 at the Markham Theatre.
“It’s an interesting comment on the life of a performer,” said Cheryl Cline, who plays the English teacher in the performance. “There’s a fatalistic lead with drug problems who wants everything too fast.”
What should give area residents even more motivation to reacquaint themselves with this classic is it showcases local talent.
“People should come just to see the talent we have from within the community,” theatre company president Carlene Flynn said.
“We are a real community theatre, but we do everything big.”
The group is celebrating its 33rd year of local theatre. This year’s show boasts 52 cast members, a 12-person orchestra and more than 200 volunteers.
“We are lucky,” said Ms Flynn. “We’ve had a lot of talented people who have been with us.”
This is 20-year-old Mayla Donachie’s first year performing with the company. She said the atmosphere at rehearsals is perfect for learning.
“It’s great, because there is no age division because there are older adults in the show and 12-year-olds who are looking up to you.”
The theatre company has been working on the show for five months, Ms Donachie said, adding that depending on the character, performers could be rehearsing 15 to 17 hours a week.
In fact, tomorrow’s rehearsal is scheduled from noon to 11 p.m.
“I am extremely excited,” she said. “It’s going to be great for the whole family. It’s very high energy with lots of twists and turns. The performers are fabulous.”
About 80 per cent of the cast is 12 to 25 years old. She said the show is still very relevant to today’s youth.
“The tough but exciting process of discovering yourself through a world full of opportunities and temptations hasn’t changed much over the years,” she said. “Pressure from parents and teachers, the desire to be unique and the fear of not fitting in, big dreams, first love, disappointment ... it’s still here.”
Ms Cline, 34, a teacher at Westmount Collegiate Institute in Thornhill, is a cast veteran.
“For a lot of years the UTC has been a youth theatre company,” she said. “I don’t mind that there are so many kids in the cast. That’s where they fall in love with theatre.”

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