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Although Fame - the Musical , is set in the mid-'80s, the wardrobe department is not getting into the whole legwarmer thing - possibly because of one of the leads, Kelley Abbey , said there was no way she was going to dress herself in all the 'retro naff' things she wore in her late teens.
Abbey is also choreographer for the show - her first major musical - and has about 20 'students' to work with. The principals have to be able to sing, dance, act and sometimes play an instrument, while the ensemble is the dance core. After auditioning more than 3,500 people, she is confident the show has some of the best all-rounders in the country.
Like the characters in the television show who have their hearts set on an entertainment career, the cast are the lucky few who have made it to the first rung. And talent is never the only criterion.
"There was heaps of talent," says Abbey. "Heaps. But because we're looking to make up a New York classroom, we were looking for all sorts of different colours and races, and people that matched up.
"As part of the creative team, you know more about why a person doesn't get picked, whereas that person just walks away thinking, 'I wasn't good enough.' But you have to go to an audition and know that it wasn't about your talent, it was about the fact that you didn't have blonde hair and weren't six foot that you weren't right for Sugar Babies (the musical)."

Sydney Morning Herald Metro - 16 July 1999

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