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Home > Current Buzz > FAME Dances Its Way on Stage at William Chrisman H.S. Independence, MO


By Kelly Evenson - The Examiner
Nov 04, 2009


Independence, MO —

 The role of Joe Vegas in William Chrisman High School's production of “Fame” is the largest role Eli Purdom has ever had. And in addition to his acting duties, he has been responsible for the lighting in this production as well.

Although it's hectic, the William Chrisman senior said he would not have had it any other way.

“It has definitely been a growing experience, but I have loved the interaction with all of the different people,” he said. “I think the hardest scene for me to put together is the finale, graduation scene. It makes me think about when I will actually be graduating in May, and that is kind of scary.”

“Fame” follows a group of students attending the New York High School for the Performing Arts, known today as Fiorello H. Laguardia High School. Students at this school get specialized training in acting, singing, dancing and other areas of performance. The stage musical is based loosely on the original 1980 movie in as well as the subsequent remake released in September.

“Fame” is at 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday at William Chrisman High School, 1223 N. Noland Road. Admission is $4 in advance and $5 at the door.

Kimberly Hayes, director of the musical, said she chose “Fame” as this year's musical because it is one of her favorites. She said other than challenges with running so many microphones at once and illness, she said the students have done well with putting it together and are ready for opening night.

“I first did it 10 years ago, and loved it,” she said. “I knew that this year we had a talented group of dancers to add to our singing and acting talent. It just seemed like a great opportunity to do this musical.”

Senior Hannah Wilson plays Grace “Lambchops” Lamb, a rowdy and outgoing drummer attending the performing arts school. Wilson said what has been the most challenging is playing a character so different from herself. But with some research, practice and watching her classmates, she said she thinks she has improved playing the loud tomboy.

“First of all, I am not a drummer and the character is really a complete opposite from myself,” she said. “But I think that has made this experience really fun. I hope the audience enjoys the energy everyone has onstage. We have put a lot into this musical and we are having a lot of fun doing it. I hope that comes across to those who are watching it.”

Senior Tony Pulford plays Tyrone Jackson, a hip hop dancer who is a little “rough-around-the-edges.” Pulford said this is the first serious character he has played, which he said he finds exciting. He said he watched the original 1980 movie to gain some perspective on Tyrone and has taken a lot of his character development from him.

“I think my favorite song is ‘Dancing on the Sidewalk' because it is the first solo I have ever had on stage. I have a really good time dancing with everyone during that number,” he said. “I believe this is a very entertaining show, and that is what people are going to like. We are having fun on stage, so we want them to have fun too.”

7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday at William Chrisman High School, 1223 N. Noland Road.

Admission: $4 in advance and $5 at the door.

Directed by: Kimberly Hayes
Choir Director: Ron Patch
Pit coordinator: Dave Ralston

Cast List:

Carmen Diaz: Michelle Sciortino
Schlomo Metzenbaum: Josh Stark
Tyrone Jackson: Tony Pulford
Serena Katz: Rachel Snow
Joe Vegas: Eli Purdom
Nick Piazza: Dustin Griffin
Mabel Washington: Dee Oliver
Grace “Lambchops' Lamb: Hannah Wilson
Goodman “Goody” King: Levi McCall
Iris Kelly: Jordan Hayes

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