Students reach for 'Fame' in GATE musical
"Fame: The Musical" offers not only a variety of dancing and singing, but also a deep look in everyday problems that teens face.
John F. Kennedy High School junior Lovelynn Trinidad, who plays Serena Katz, says that teenagers can relate to the story as the students of New York face problems of teen angst.
"Fame: The Musical" premiered Thursday at The Guam Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE) Theater in Tiyan. The show continues this week at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday.The production is about a diverse group of students who attend the New York School of Performing Arts High School, which accepts only 97 students out of the 4,000 applicants it receives.
Acting, dancing and singing is the core of everyone's dream in the "Fame."
The students must maintain a 2.5 grade point average in order to graduate within four years.
Two obstacles to graduation are the performing arts school's grueling classes and the expectations of the teachers.
Other complications of life -- such as finding one's self, substance abuse and relationship problems -- also beset the students. Their decisions on how to counter these problems determine whether they will become famous and successful.
Director Ray Twenter says that the musical portrays the struggle of inner-city kids, who have raw talent that is not yet tamed.
"They come in with no discipline -- except for Nick -- off the streets, and the teachers are there to nurture that talent and help them progress," Twenter said.
What makes "Fame" different from other musicals is the fact that in this production, adults are part of the cast.
"Usually, there are student productions, but in this musical, there are four teachers from the Guam Public School System who are part of the musical," says Simon Sanchez High School teacher Beverly Abat, who plays English teacher Esther Sherman in the musical.
Carmen Diaz, played by Academy of Our Lady of Guam senior Ria Ramos, is the queen of the school who makes sure that she will one day be a famous actress.
JFK junior Ronny Espina plays Schlomo Metzenbaum, who comes from a rich family and has a famous violinist as a father. Metzenbaum feels the pressure of doing well and desires to rebel, but he also wants to help Carmen fulfill her dreams.
Tyrone Jackson, played by Father Duenas Memorial School senior Dominic Cadiz, is a talented dancer, who struggles to graduate on time, while his dance partner, Iris Kelly, played by AOLG sophomore Tiana Quitugua, is the new student and has a hard time fitting in.
Nick Piazza, played by FD senior Stefan Lebrano, wants to be a great actor who can move audiences.
Micheal Lin, who plays King, says that the musical is upbeat, fun and lively, and people won't be bored.
"It'll be worth it," he says. "We've been practicing for weeks, and we're getting down the dancing, music, everything."
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