I was about 10 when I first saw "Fame." It was premiering on HBO, and a neighbor kid with cable invited the whole block of teens and tweens over to watch. Over the years, many kids have dreamed of attending "P.A." The famous high school, officially named Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, opened in 1947. In the '60s, it merged with the High School of Music and Art, thus the lengthy name, but alumni and "Fame" fanatics just call it High School of Performing Arts or PA. Illustrious alumni include Dom DeLuise, Hal Linden, Richard Benjamin, Suzanne Pleshette, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Liza Minnelli, Ben Vereen, Freddie Prinze, Ving Rhames, Irene Cara, Jennifer Aniston and former Maui stage actress Jackie Shea.
In addition to the original film, the 1980s TV show and a 2009 film remake, "Fame" was adapted into a slightly more PG-rated stage musical, which ran off Broadway from 2003 to 2004. This stage adaptation is based on the 1980 film, but with many of the original characters removed or changed slightly. The majority of the score for "Fame - The Musical" is original music with the exception of the Oscar-winning hit "Fame."
Songs such as "Hot Lunch Jam," "Out Here On My Own," and "I Sing the Body Electric" were cut from the stage musical.
Join “Fame — The Musical” cast member Makana Gabin (pictured), along with the rest of the MAPA performers this weekend at Steppingstone Playhouse.
JACK GRACE photo
The original title of the film was actually "Hot Lunch," until director Alan Parker ("The Wall," "Mississippi Burning") witnessed a sign on 42nd Street advertising a porno with the same name. "Hot Lunch" was dropped and the film remained nameless until just prior to its release. "Fame" was selected, due too the already popular Irene Cara written song, which had become a top 40 hit before the film was even released. Cara was just two years removed from high school when cast to play a P.A. student. She not only won the Best Song Oscar for "Fame," but was also nominated against herself for "Out Here On My Own." Four years later, she won her second Oscar for co-writing "Flashdance What a Feeling."
Maui Academy of Performing Arts' teen summer musical theatre camp members will take on the timeless and uplifting tale this weekend only.
"We chose 'Fame' for our performing arts camp, for the third time, because the material deals with impassioned actors, singers, dancers at a performing arts high school in New York," said director Sally Sefton. "As our students rehearse this energetic '80s musical, they are reminded that making it in the performing arts requires hard work and absolute devotion to their craft.
If you've never seen any of the "Fame" incarnations, the musical follows a group of students through the ups and downs of high school.
"These Maui students have been living this concept for the past five weeks," added Sefton. "They spend six hours a day in class to develop their skills and rehearse the songs, dances and libretto. In addition to honing their skills as performers, the students learn from the lessons 'Fame' provides. It teaches us that we are not invincible. There are consequences, both good and bad, for all of the choices we make. They have also learned that we have the power to make a difference in the world, both individually and as a community."
She added, "This group is exceptionally talented. They surprise me and move me to tears at least once a day."
The show opens tonight and is the culmination of more than 200 hours of intensive training in acting, dancing and singing this summer. This year's camp includes 39 students from 12 Maui schools, and one from the Mainland.
* "Fame - The Musical" is rated PG for language and drug references; recommended for ages 12 and older. Performances are at 7:30 tonight and Friday and 3 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Steppingstone Playouse at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students 18 and younger, available by calling 244-8760.
Also this week
Sesame Street Live returns to Maui with "Can't Stop Singing." When Elmo gets his furry fingers on Abby Cadabby's magic wand, there's something in the air. Sesame Street becomes a nonstop, all-singing, all-dancing musical montage. Baby Bear and Grover sing their highs and lows, Cookie Monster sings fast and slow, Bert and Ernie converse in song, and there's even a conga line to join. Performances are 7 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m.; 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10, $20, $33, $48 and $75 (plus applicable fees). To purchase tickets for any MACC event, visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or order online at www.mauiarts.org.
Catch the return of popular comedian and on-air personality, Augie T, and his hilarious local humor for a night of laugh-out-loud fun. Augie T's "Summer of LOL" tour will also include special comedy guests. Performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's McCoy Studio Theater. Tickets are $20 for general admission, or $35 for premium tickets (plus applicable fees), that include a meet-and-greet session.
Maui OnStage presents the Tony Award-winning "RENT," through August 4. The musical by Jonathan Larson is directed by Steven Dascoulias, choreographed by Sarah Loney and musically directed Vania Jerome. The cast of 16 features Jonna Ahn, Charles Cook, Kelsey Greenway, Ricky Jones, Kisha Milling, Isaac Rauch, Francis Tau'a and Kalen Willits. Performances of "RENT" are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 3 p.m. Sundays at the Historic Iao Theater. Reserved seating tickets range from $17 to $28 (plus applicable fees), with a limited number of $10 rush tickets available two hours prior to each performance. For tickets or more information, call 242-6969 or purchase reserved seats online at www.mauionstage.com.
Maui Academy of Performing Arts announces its fall academy classes, which begin on Aug. 19 and continue through Dec. 14. Registration has begun for dance, drama and singing classes for ages 3 and older in both Wailuku and Lahaina. MAPA offers a multi-class/family discount and partial scholarships. Register for four or more classes and get 10 percent off your tuition. The Master Plan, with registration in nine classes, allows students to enroll in any additional classes are free. For a complete schedule, online registration forms or more information, call 244-8760 or visit www.mauiacademy.org.
Alexander Academy of Performing Arts presents its 2013-14 schedules of classes and workshops: Mommy and Me (ages 2 through 3.5), Wednesday mornings; Pre-ballet (ages 3 to 5), a variety of morning and afternoon classes, Monday to Saturday; Elementary 1 (ages 6 to 7), afternoons Monday through Thursday and Saturday; Elementary 2 (ages 8 to 9), afternoons Tuesdays and Fridays; Ballet 1 (ages 9 to adult), mornings and afternoons Monday to Thursday and Saturday; Ballet 2 (ages 10 to adult), mornings and afternoons Tuesday to Saturday; Ballet 3 and 4 (ages 12 to adult), afternoons Monday to Saturday; Jazz 1 (ages 6 to 8), Friday afternoons; Jazz 2 (ages 8 to 12), evenings Tuesday and Thursday; Jazz 3 (ages 13 to adult), Friday afternoons.
Additional classes and a complete schedule with times are available online at www.alexanderacademy.info. Alexander Academy is a donation-based dance studio in Kula. For information or to register for fall classes, call 878-8970.
Maui OnStage announces a new theatrical program for Maui youth. OnSTAGE is a program for 9 to 13 year olds who want to learn more about singing, acting and dancing while rehearsing a musical production to be performed at the Historic Iao Theater.
Some of Maui's premier theater educators will host OnSTAGE, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, with casting and a meet-and-greet session. Parents and young performers will have the opportunity to meet the educational team of Ricky Jones, Alexis Dascoulias, Steven Dascoulias, Brett Wulfson and Erin Kowalick.
Students enrolled in the OnSTAGE workshop will attend rehearsals for the musical "The Story of Orange" by Vernise Pelzel, to be held from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays. Performances of "The Story of Orange," directed by Jones, will be performed the first two weekends in December. Tuition for this 12-week workshop is $175. For more information or to register, call 244-8680 or visit www.mauionstage.com.