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Home > Past Buzz > HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: '80s classic Fame hits CFRT stage
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CAPE FEAR REGIONAL THEATRE

By: EMILY LAURENCE
May 30, 2006

 

 

Everyone has thought about what it would be like to be famous, at least once. It's easy to get carried away daydreaming about shopping - sprees or filming a movie in an exotic location, especially while sitting in a cubicle from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. But most people don't daydream about the grueling work of a performing arts school, such as what students undergo in Fame, the musical Cape Fear Regional Theatre has decided to close their 2005-06 season with.

Everyone has thought about what it would be like to be famous, at least once. It's easy to get carried away daydreaming about shopping - sprees or filming a movie in an exotic location, especially while sitting in a cubicle from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. But most people don't daydream about the grueling work of a performing arts school, such as what students undergo in Fame, the musical Cape Fear Regional Theatre has decided to close their 2005-06 season with.

Fame, popularized by the television series and 1980s motion picture of the same name, is a story about a group of diverse students and their four years at the High School for the Performing Arts in New York City. It is not only a story about stars-in-training, but is also about all the other twists and turns that come with growing up.

"There are over 40 people in the cast and they can all sing, dance or both," said Bo Thorp, CFRT's artistic director and the producer of Fame. Thorp said she thinks the show will be nostalgic for many people in the audience because of the popularity of the 1980s film.

Director Ray Kennedy said audience members should keep in mind that the show is not modeled after the movie or the television series, but after the musical. "The High School of the Performing Arts is the common thread between the three but this is a story that did not show up in the movie or television series," he said. "It's a different story and that's exciting because you're coming to see something and you don't know how it ends."

Kennedy said the most challenging part of putting the production together was moving 40 people around on the stage. He describes the youthful cast as talented and energetic and hopes the excitement of the production will be projected to the audience.

Twenty three-year-old Clay Nelms will play the part of Nick Piazza, a good-looking and serious actor. Nelms said he drew from his own experience of studying acting at the University of East Carolina to prepare for his role.

"The most challenging part about playing Nick was remembering what it was like to be in high school and bring a youthful exuberance to the character," he said. This is Nelms' second time acting in a CFRT production. He was also an actor when the theatre performed Beauty and the Beast.

Former Miss Fayetteville Erin White - who will co-star as Serena Katz, a shy actress with a girl-next-door quality - said putting the show together was easier than many may think because the cast and crew are all very talented.

"I think the most rewarding thing is to see how everybody's talent meshes together to create something so special," she said.

White wants the audience to experience the hopefulness and joy that is so apparent in young people who dream big. "I want the audience to get that feeling of 'you can do anything,'" she said. "Sometimes growing up we forget about our dreams and about how much we loved doing the things in our lives."

One of the reasons White said she took the part of Serena Katz was to gain more experience before she moves to LA in August to try and make it as an actress. White, who recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said she would always regret it if she didn't pursue her dream, which happens to be the same dream all the characters in Fame share.

Ken McNeil, 20, plays Tyrone Jackson, an exceptional dancer who has trouble reading. McNeil said preparing for his role was a lot of hard work and involved tiresome hours of dance class. It is easy to wonder if McNeil had his fellow castmates in mind when he describes the characters in Fame.

"Each and every one of us are striving to be good at the talent we hope to pursue whether it be acting, singing, dancing or instrumental," McNeil said.

Fame will be performed from June 9-25. Ticket prices range from $12-$25. For show times and more information, please call 910-323-4233 or visit the website at www.cfrt.org.

©Up & Coming Magazine 2006

 

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