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Home > Past Buzz > 'Fame' to debut at Playhouse

Teen aspirations taking center stage.

By Peggy Hager, Staff Writer
Friday, February 11, 2005 - PALMDALE -- The hassles and heartaches of teenagers attending New York City's High School of the Performing Arts are being brought to the stage tonight at the Palmdale Playhouse.

Desert Opera Theatre's production of "Fame -- The Musical" follows a 1980 movie, a 1982-87 television series and a 1999 Broadway musical.

"It's more like the TV series than it is the movie," director Candida Arial said of the Palmdale stage show. "There's a lot of the same type of energy that was in the TV show and the characters come out a lot more just like the TV show, but they really are three different 'Fames.'"

The musical will be presented at 8 p.m. today, Saturday, Feb. 18 and 19 and at 2 p.m. Sunday and Feb. 20, at the Playhouse, 38334 10th St. E. Tickets are $14 for adults; $12 for seniors, students and military; and $10 for children 12 and under.

This is the directorial debut for Arial, a transplant from Colorado who moved to the Antelope Valley three years ago to make it in the movies.

Arial appeared in last year's "Bye Bye Birdie" for Desert Opera Theatre and "Skin of Our Teeth" for Palmdale Repertory Theatre.

She said it was hard to choose between directing or auditioning for "Fame."

"I've loved 'Fame' on TV since I was a little girl," Arial said. "So, I had to think about it ... I made the decision that if someone needed to bring some youth to the stage, I could handle it."

The musical is realistic about what high school students go through, Arial said.

"There's a bit about being anorexic." Arial said. "There's a bit about using drugs. There's a lot of self-discovery going on."

But the 21-member cast, recruited at Antelope Valley College and dance studios, includes no one under 17 -- a decision by Arial because of the musical's subject matters and language.

"I do not recommend the show for anyone under 13," said Arial. "That is why I cast it at 17 and over. I did not feel that some of the lines were appropriate for anyone under 17 to deliver on stage."

The show is choreographed by Brittany Covert with vocal direction by Leo Meza. Patty Graham is the music director and Kim Tarlton is the production stage manager.

Portraying students are Tyler Heckathorn, Michelle Piccirillo, Jimmy Russell, Chris Keramidas, Rebecca Hilton, Laura Simonson, Anna Domenech, Charlie Paling, Erin Wek and Chris Mondok.

Portraying teachers are Brenda Smith, Debbie Purpus, Bill Armstrong and Pete Sabia.

Chorus members are Amanda Butler, Carla Cassell, Sean Cormack, David Matz, Shanel White, Cynthia Yagi and Michael Linkletter.

The 1980 movie starred Irene Cara, Debbie Allen, Anne Meara, Isaac Misrahi and Richard Belzer. A young Meg Tilly performed as one of the dancers.

The television series ran from 1982 to 1987 and also starred Allen along with Janet Jackson, Carrie Hamilton, Nia Peeples, Lori Singer, Billy Hufsey and Lee Curreri.

For tickets, call (661) 267-5685.

Peggy Hager, (661) 267-5741



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