West Henderson students have flash of 'Fame'
By Leigh Kelley
March 28, 2011
MILLS RIVER - Eric English was throwing out wisecracks fast and furious on the stage Friday afternoon during a dress rehearsal of “Fame,” this year's student musical production at West Henderson High School.
The musical is about the lives of students attending a performing arts school in New York City and their experiences as they chase the spotlight.
English's character is the play's comic relief, and English was clearly enjoying his time playing quick-with-a-joke Jose (Joe) Vega, a loud Hispanic acting student.
“I love playing this guy so, so very much — I've never played a Hispanic character before,” the 18-year-old senior said during a break from the rehearsal. “He's so much fun. He's one of the best characters I've ever played.”
His classmate, Kara Hamilton, also an 18-year-old senior at West, has several productions under her belt. In “Fame,” she plays Carmen Diaz, a sexy, confident but cocky dancer with a big ego.
Hamilton said she hopes the audience will come away with an appreciation for theater after watching the production, which debuts Thursday.
“I just want them to believe that we enjoyed doing it, that we enjoyed putting on a show,” she said. “All I can really ask for is that they appreciate it and have more of an appreciation for the arts.”
The production is a “labor of love” and a true collaboration of many people, said Kelly Cooper, drama teacher at West and one of the show's directors. Adam Parent, a student teacher and West alum, is Cooper's co-director. Parent is a Brevard College graduate with a degree in Theatre Education, she said.
“We've had parent volunteers, different teachers throughout the school (help); even the school's custodians have helped us out — in fact, one of them saw some (school) lockers sitting on the side of the road,” Cooper said, pointing to the lockers on the stage in the background. “That has made it very real. And for a couple of our seniors, it's been the first time they've ever been on stage as a principal actor in a production. It's been really great to see them come out of their shells. They've really blossomed.”
“Fame” was chosen based on the strength of the students' choral skills, said Resi Dolbee, the musical's choreographer.
“We've auditioned students first and then selected a musical that will allow as many students to participate as possible,” she said.
“Fame” will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the auditorium at West Henderson. Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at the school's guidance office.
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