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Fame: The Musical

Coconut Grove Playhouse (1988)

(Mitchell Lee)


`This is an original piece of theater; it`s not warmed-over TV or Hollywood.``

Producer David De Silva was talking about Fame, the musical.


De Silva nursed the concept through two previous lives over the past decade and says he is now at the brink of the realization he always had intended.

Fame is unusual because, although it is part of a strong trend in which motion-picture properties are being retooled for the stage, Fame itself has been transformed, rather than adapted. The music, for instance, bears no resemblance to either the film or the TV series, except for the trademark title song.

``I didn`t even want to use the title song, but after awhile conceded because it became obvious that audiences expect it. But in this stage version, we downplay it and blend it in with another song,`` De Silva explains.

The stage musical is a big effort for South Florida regional theater.

An entirely new book has been written by Jose Fernandez, with new music by Steven Margoshes and lyrics by Jacques Levy. Choreography is by Jennifer Muller, who comes not from musical theater ranks but from modern dance. The sets are by Alexander Okun, who designed for the Moscow Art Theatre before immigrating to the United States in 1981.

They cannot, and do not, tamper with the basic premise of Fame, which is about students at NewYork`s High School of the Performing Arts.

``They are similar because you can`t get away from the idea of rich kids, poor kids, black, white ... I have to trust that we have a terrific artistic team doing an original piece and that ultimately we will be validated for that originality,`` De Silva says.

Kenny Seymour in Fame: The Musical (2nd from left)

Coconut Grove Playhouse

Fame: The Musical Cast

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