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"Fame - the Musical" brings tears to the eye, laughter to the soul

13 November 2011
By Emily Chacon & Martin Hanson

Camarillo Community Theater's "Fame, the Musical" runs until November 20.
Photo courtesy of Camarillo Community Theater.

Crowds of people waited outside the Camarillo Community Theater Friday Nov. 4 anxious to see the performance of “Fame - the Musical."

"Fame" is a compelling story set in the early 1980s following a group of students trying to make their names in New York. These students are selected, despite fierce competition from over a thousand applicants, to New York’s High School of Performing Arts. This is no ordinary high school; its talented students are put through four years of rigorous work in academic studies with an emphasis on the arts.

The musical explores the typical high school experiences of young love, heartbreak, drug and alcohol abuse, and of course, trying to balance school work with it all.

The Camarillo Community Theater brought a fresh rendering of the original story, which was written by David De Silva. The entire cast gave an amazing performance from start to finish for every type of audience.

Jessamyn Arnstein stood out as Carmen Diaz with her strong vocals and sassy characterization. In her songs “In L.A.” and “Fame” she showed the audience her vitality and zest.

“It was easy to cast Jessamyn as Carmen, she was perfect for the role,” producer Juanita Seavey said.

Michael Mario Castro brought comic relief to the show as Joe Vegas. With every word he spoke, he provoked a chuckle or giggle from the audience.

“Can’t Keep it Down,” a song performed by Castro and other members of the cast, created a relaxed atmosphere for the audience and is most of the cast's favorite song of the show.

“That song really gives the male audience something to relate to because it’s very rare that they can talk about personal things, and it really does set the tone for the rest of the show,” Castro said.

The performances of Christopher A. Mahr, a Buena High School alumnus, as Nick Piazza, Hayley Silvers as the timid Serena Katz, and Steven Silvers as Schlomo Metzenbaum were also very enjoyable.

When asked what she believed to be the moral message of the production, Abby Eccles said, “Follow your dreams, but always know the limit of what’s necessary.”

One problem throughout the show was the piano volume. Because of it, the audience had difficulty understanding what the actors were saying.

The show will be playing at the Camarillo Community Theater until November 20.


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