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Home > Past Buzz > Rogers Center for the Arts, North Andover, MA

June 28, 2007

'Fame' sets stage for theater company's return
By Rosemary Ford , Staff Writer

The new kid on the block is back.

WESJAM Productions - named for cofounders Wendy E. Smith (the WES) and John A. Middleton-Cox (the JAM) - was formed four years ago solely to produce the original musical "The Big Time." Smith and Middleton-Cox were responsible for the show's book and lyrics.

Now the North Andover duo is back with "Fame: The Musical," on stage this weekend at the Rogers Center for the Arts at Merrimack College in North Andover.

Middleton-Cox chose the show because he developed a fondness for it when he oversaw a production at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High in Haverhill.

"The spirit and enthusiasm of high school kids really shines through," he said.

Middleton-Cox and Smith put out an audition notice and culled a cast of 31 from all over North of Boston.

"What's really nice about this is bringing together kids who have never been together before," Smith said.

Sixteen-year-old Quianna Roy of Lawrence plays one of the leads, Mabel Washington, an overweight dancer who must overcome her body issues to prove her worth. Before the show, Roy lost 57 pounds and found it gave her a new appreciation for her character's struggles.

"She doesn't let anything get her down," Roy said. "She's like, 'This is who I am, this is how I am going to be and I have talent.' I was really happy I got that part."

If "Fame" goes well, WESJAM may be back again later this year for another show.

"We've penciled ourselves in a few times (at the Rogers Center)," said Smith. "You want to see where 'Fame' goes."

Cast of "Fame: The Musical"


Amanda Weldin, 17


Chris Laudani, 18


Katie Baker, 15

Erica Bojarczuk, 16

Jamie Cook, 16

Will Ford, 16

Andrea Giangreco, 18

Jennifer Gregoio, 14

Rachel Gregoio

Brad Jensen, 18

Andrew Maurer, 14

Lindsay McMahon, 17

Yasmeen Osman, 14

Nishan Ovian, 17

Zaven Ovian, 13

Peter Romagna, 18

Ryan Shane, 14

Paula Slowe, 17


Brenda Fallon, 14

Elle Martins, 13


Alyssa Zimini, 16


Ricky Hamlett, 16

Marissa Miller, 18


Amanda Bushway, 16

Quianna Roy, 16


Paula Slowe, 17

Juliette Walle, 15

Salem, Mass.

Austin Parker, 12


Andrew Barbato, 16


Danielle DeMatteo, 15

Arielle Rawding, 16


Sam Szavo, 17


* What: "Fame: The Musical"

* When: Thursday, June 28, and Friday, June 29, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 30, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

* Where: Rogers Center for the Arts, 315 Turnpike St., North Andover

* How : General admission tickets $15. Call 978-683-7777 for reservations. Tickets also available at the door.

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