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Home > Past Buzz > Fortune, Love ... Fame!
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By Naomi Serviss

Remember "Fame", that catchy 1980's movie about talented high school kids who dances and sang their way into out hearts? You remember the refrain, "Fame, I'm Gonna Live Forever...", sang while kids jumped around on parked cars?
The movie featured the ever-soulful and winsome actress Irene Cara and was based on the real New York High School for the Performing Arts, originally located on West 46th Street. The movie's plot holds up well in the newest off-Broadway stage version, Fame on 42nd St., playing at the Little Shubert Theatre, at 422 West 42nd Street. It will undoubtedly please the youngster in your family who dreams of making it big in the performing arts.
The story is based on the last (1984) class to graduate from the venerable, if seedy, original Manhattan site. To this day, the more glam Upper West Side school continues educating talented youth in its tonier location -- Lincoln Center. But back to the current production, which features some mighty talented and earnest youth.
The themes in the musical resonate today as strongly as they did some 20 years ago and will assuredly strike a chord in your older child's psyche. The travails of the middle school and high school student seem so much more dramatic and dangerous today, it's almost refreshing to watch a gaggle of fresh-faced talented youngsters sing and dance innocently about fame, fortune and love.
Well, supposedly a more innocent time. Becuase the very same issues that plague us today totured kids back then, too. Fitting in, being accepted, searching for meaning, truth and love. But, to be truthful to ourselves, those issues do seem more innocent, especially framed against 9/11. Little did we know how easy it was then, compared to what kids have to go through now just to clear the hurdles of fitting in, or getting through the school hurdles.
This musical is a perfect draw for performance-driven high schoolers and middle school kids who can relate to the miseries and passions of public school. Kids who have the itch to become the next "American Idol" or just to bag the lead role in a school production will thoroughly enjoy this racous (and not too racy) enthusiastic retelling of the tale. And juist what is the tale? Basically, it chronicles the four years of a handful of star-struck teens schooled in the competitive mien of an institution whose unofficial motto is, "Fame costs and this is where you start paying."
There are plenty of joyous singing and dancing moments along with the requisite love stories and heartbreak, and it sure beats another night on the Internet. The musical is perfect for school groups, so if you can convince your kid's school to sponsor a field trip, the price per ticket is consideralbly less than the $75 you'll have to pay. Of course, there's always my favorite place to pick up tickets, at the TKTS booth in Duffy Square, or the less-crowded one downtown. And if you decide to go, log onto the show's website www.fameon42.com for cast and ticket information, games, contests and other interactive goodies for your kids, or call 1-800-545-2559, or (212) 239-6200.

 

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