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Home > Reviews > Beechwood Teenages Sing Praise of "Fame"


Gabi Schuster (left), Rachel Craig and Sondra Schroeder dance their way through "Fame."

Each week, The Enquirer will feature selected excerpts from high school theater critics working with the Cappies critics program.

The only thing that could be more dramatic than the lives of hormone-driven teenagers is a musical about hormone-driven teenagers. The students of Beechwood High School recently took the stage with "Fame: The Musical."

"Fame," set at New York City's High School of Performing Arts, follows the starry-eyed students in the class of 1984, who believe they "will live forever." We watch them as they come to terms with life, love, friendships and prejudices, but above all, their determination to "make it."

Playing the part of the sensitive violinist prodigy, Schlomo, Robbie McMath performed with thoughtfulness and poise. He took command of the stage as he delivered his solo in "Bring On Tomorrow" and played the morally supportive friend. McMath gave one of the most honest performances of the night.

Rachel Flynn, who played Carmen, was another standout performer. She had the confidence and stage presence to pull off her role as the feisty and headstrong dancer. Her vocals in "Fame" and "In L.A." were remarkable.

Some of the characters from "Fame" are minorities, which requires a fairly diverse cast that Beechwood High School did not have. Some of the actors, knowing that their characters were a certain race, stereotyped their roles to a point where, at times, it became a caricature. This prevented the audience from making a true and lasting connection with the characters when serious subject matter came up.

But the enthusiasm of the cast came out when performing the musical numbers, such as "Bring on Tomorrow" or "Fame." Perfect harmony resonated throughout the room while the energetic dancing kept all eyes focused on the performers.

Complete with graffiti, leg warmers and acid-washed jeans, the Beechwood performers successfully brought their audience to the 1980s with both the costumes and dance. The simple set gave the actors a broad plane, with the opportunity to express themselves freely.

Beechwood's production was full of life and captured the spirit of the performing arts.


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