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by Charlsie Dewey | charlsie@revuewm.com THEATRE A Shot at Fame T


HIS SUMMER, ART IMITATES life as the most talented actors, singers and dancers from area high schools join the Civic Theatre’s Summer Repertory Theatre to stage a production of Fame. Set in the 1980s, Fame tells the story of a group of art- ists, musicians and dancers who have been accepted into the


prestigious and rigorous New York City High School of Performing Arts. The musical follows the teenagers from their acceptance through graduation detailing their struggles and triumphs as they try to achieve the ultimate success: fame. “For me, Fame is the 1980s movie. I think of that movie. It was


very gritty and edgy, fun and passionate. It was an amazing story about these kids that were just trying to hone their craft and do the best that they could at what they were doing so that they could achieve fame,” said Director Scott Mellema. The message of Fame is that success – to reach the level of fame


FAME Grand Rapids Civic Theatre July 29 & 31, Aug. 4 & 6, show times at 2 and 7:30 p.m. $8-$14 grct.org, (616) 222-6650


that these kids aspire to – takes work. In this day of reality TV, where anyone can become famous based on antics and physicality, Fame reminds audiences that true talent takes years of work and practice all the while surmounting obstacles and temptations. The cast of Fame, all students


between the ages of 14 and 19, spend the month of July participating in the intensive Monday through Friday pro- gram. The students spend three hours a day in dress rehearsal and then three


hours constructing sets, costumes and handling other aspects of the production. Mellema said directing Fame is a great opportunity for him to show-


case students with specific talents throughout the show. He intends to include a backdrop of the group busily working to “get it right,” whether it’s a piece of music, a dance move or running lines together.


“One thing that I really liked about the original film was they were


constantly working to hone their skills,” Mellema said. “You would see these couple of actors that would be going off to a classroom or a part of the hallway to rehearse a scene and as they are walking they pass by someone who is up against a locker with their oboe trying to work on a specific part. They walk by a room where there is a couple of kids dancing, working on a number.” Fame was first produced as a film in 1980. The musical version was


developed by David De Silva and premiered in Miami, Fla. in 1988. It has a very ‘80s feel, but Mellema said audiences can expect the stage design and costuming to fall more in between 1980’s New York City and present day TV show, “Glee.” He hopes to find a way to give the production a more timeless quality rather than to position it in a time gone by manner. n


Other Theatre Events | by Garrett Dennert


James and the Giant Peach Civic Theatre, Grand Rapids July 30 and Aug. 3, 5, 7 $8-$14; grct.org, (616) 222-6650


If you don’t know this story, it’s fair to wonder where you’ve been the past 50 years. Originally a children’s book written by Roald Dahl in 1961, the story has since been translated into both a film and a play. Adapted by Richard R. George, this Peach introduces a slightly different perspective while retaining what we all love about the original. Nasty aunts Spiker and Sponge are back, as well as those lovable insects that help James deal with his hard life with the unreasonable relatives.


62 | REVUEWM.COM | JULY 2011


Nana’s Naughty Knickers Red Barn, Saugatuck July 8, 9, 10, 15 Adults $15, students/seniors $12, group rate $10 redbarnsaugatuck.com, (269) 857-5300


In this comedy, a hardworking soon-to-be law student moves in with her grandmother for the summer, oblivious to what her grandmother actually does. Shortly after, she discovers her grandmother runs an illegal lingerie business out of the apartment, with the encouragement of her best friend, of course. Secondary characters include the landlord and a police officer, who throw in even more laughs and even more problems for our protagonist. For a


younger generation, think Grandma’s Boy meets Calendar Girls, but on the stage.


Honk! Circle Theatre, Grand Rapids July 14-30; circletheater.org, (616) 456-6656


Honk! reminds us of what it’s like to be different in a world of people (and in this case, birds) that seem to fit the mold. Early in Ugly’s (the duckling) life, he is conned by a cunning kitty who wants to devour him. Ugly escapes, finds love and is rescued by his mother, who has been searching for him the entire time. Sound familiar? Honk! is based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Ugly Duckling.


SCHEDULE | DINING |SIGHTS


SOUNDS | SCENE


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