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Home > Past Buzz > 'Fame' provides spark for young theater students

by Tom Schardin
July 26, 2007
Emily Duea
Emily Duea

For sophomores Samantha Blakeley, Emily Duea and Rachael Barker, fame is happening now and may be in their future.

The Savage residents are getting a good taste of what theater will be like at Burnsville Senior High School this fall. All three have roles as musical students in the Applause Community Theatre production of "Fame," the 1980 movie hit that has spun off into an off-Broadway show.

The musical is being performed at the Mraz Center - on the same stage Blakeley, Duea and Barker hope to get much more familiar with in the next three years at high school.

" I'm really looking forward to high school and getting into the theater department," said Barker. " I've

Samantha Blakeley

followed what they've done for years and it's exciting to get a chance to be part of it."

The final performance of "Fame" will be Sunday, July 29 at 4 p.m. The musical has been running since July 12.

All three sophomores said the dancing is the toughest part of being in "Fame." Both the movie and musical are well-known for their spirited, high-energy dances and catchy, rhythmic songs.

"I've had no formal dance training, so that's been the hardest part for me," said Duea. "We're around people who have been dancing since they were 5 years old, but everyone is so supportive. They make it fun."

Blakeley has had some lead roles in her days at Eagle Ridge Junior High School. She's also been part of Mraz Center Director Randy Day's theater camp this summer, so she feels she's more than ready to make the jump into

Rachael Barker

the well-respected BSHS program.

Getting her feet wet in "Fame," which features some college-aged and older actors, has been a great learning experience for her and her classmates.

"It feels more professional," said Blakeley. "I liked doing the plays at Eagle Ridge, but I'm ready to move up. I'm so excited to get to Burnsville. I will be a newcomer, so I'll have to work hard, but I know everyone takes it very seriously."

Duea understands she's guaranteed nothing at BSHS. Many sophomores start out with small chorus-type roles in musicals and try to work their way up.

"I'm hoping it's not as intimidating as some people think it is," said Duea. "I can't expect anything. I just have to work hard."

Savage residents Kate Gubash and Jessi Gritner, who are also in "Fame" as additional acting students, were in the same boat last year coming from Eagle Ridge's junior high program to BSHS. However, both juniors earned chorus parts in the school's first musical last school year, "Oklahoma."

The BSHS theater department has always been a close-knit group, which makes it even more appealing for Barker and easier for incoming sophomores to adapt.

Barker said she's looking forward to meeting new people who share the same interest in theater as she does. She started getting more serious about acting in eighth grade, earning a lead role in "Oliver" at Eagle Ridge.

"High School is going to be a big step up, but I'm excited about it," said Barker.



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