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'Fame' draws on the best of the Westmoreland County

April 26, 2011


Westmoreland All-County Musical performers (from left), Brandon Snyder, a senior at Greensburg Central Catholic; Anna Stewart, a freshman at Greensburg Salem High School; Missy Graf, a junior at Greensburg Central Catholic; and Lindsey Ferguson, a freshman at Greater Latrobe Area High School, rehearse at Stage Right in Greensburg for "Fame."
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review

To Stage Right artistic director Anthony Marino, the All-County Musical is "an All-Star Game for local theater kids." The lineup features 80 student actors from nearly every school district in Westmoreland County, along with home- and cyber-schooled students.

This is the fifth year that Marino and Stage Right have presented an end-of-the-school-year show that involves students whose interests and talents are in singing, dancing and acting. This year's musical, "Fame," is a tribute to the young performers who -- by being selected for roles in the production -- feel they already have won the game.

"I love the All-County Musical. It is a great opportunity for people who are passionate about musical theater to add another show to their resume and also to experiment with the atmosphere of the Stage Right theater company," says Brian Sweeney, a sophomore at Greensburg Salem High School.

Sweeney, who plays Nick Piazza, a focused young man who is confident and dedicated to his work, says that being involved in the production is a great way to make friends from different schools.

"It gives every cast member an opportunity to do something that they normally never do," says Cody Petit of New Kensington, a junior at Valley High School. "It gives us an opportunity to be in something that's bigger than all of us."

Petit is cast as Jack, the self-proclaimed "bad boy" of the show who grew up on the wrong side of town. "He is a fun character to play because he is my polar opposite, and it's fun to be someone you're not for a little while," he says.

The stage version of "Fame," based on the 1980 movie and TV series of the same name, chronicles the lives of a group of students at a New York performing-arts high school who are dealing with a multitude of social issues.

The show has special meaning for choreographer Renata Marino.

"Being a dancer who grew up in the '80s, 'Fame' was my 'Glee,' " she says. "I envied the dancers on the TV series, never realizing then that my life would become so much like 'Fame.' "

She has worked to update the choreography to fit current dance styles, "however, break dance is the original hip-hop, so the moves mixed with the costumes will take you back," she says.


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