Fame (1997 – 2001 US & Canada Tour)
A multi year tour of the USA from November 9, 1998 – before closing on April 29, 2001 of this lively production of Fame: The Musical, conceived and developed by David De Silva, book by Jose Fernandez, lyrics by Jacques Levy, music by Steve Margoshes; title song “Fame” by Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore.
Produced by Richard Martini, Adam Spiegel, Ronald Andrew, Allen Spivak and Albert Nocciolino. Originally produced at The Coconut Grove Playhouse (Arnold Mittelman, Producing Artistic Director)
Directed & Choreographed by Lars Bethke; Associate Choreographer & Assistant Director Denise Holland; Music orchestrated by Harold Wheeler and Steve Margoshes; Musical Director: Jo Lynn Burks; Scenic design, Norbert U. Kolb; Costume design, Paul Tazewell; Lighting design, Richard Winkler; Sound design, Christopher “Kit” Bond and hair design, David H. Lawrence; Associate Sound Design: Dennis Craig; Assistant Costume Design: Devon Painter; Assistant Lighting Design: Michael Jones; Moving Light Programmer: David Arch;
General Manager: H. Duke Guthrie, Sharon Tinari Pratt and KL Management; Company Manager: Susan C. Guszynski; Assistant Co. Manager: Kurt Stoneking; Production Stage Manager: Allen McMullen; Stage Manager: Nancy Wernick; Assistant Stage Manager: Dan Shaheen; Casting: Stuart Howard and Amy Schecter; Toronto Casting: Stephanie Gorin; L.A. Casting: Carol Weiss; National Press Representative: Cromarty & Co.; Internet Marketing: BuyBroadway / Toby Simkin; Dance Captain: Danita Salamida; Exclusive Booking Direction: William Morris Agency, Inc.; Advertising: Russek Advertising; Photographer: Carol Rosegg
Musical Coordinator: John Monaco; Conducted by Jo Lynn Burks; Associate Conductor: Michael Gribbin; Drummer: Mark Mulé; Guitarist: Kim Norton; Trombone: Brian Johnson; Percussion: Mark Danni; Trumpet: David Zalud; Electric Bass: C.R. Melberg; Saxophone: Matt Taylor
Starring Natasha Rennalls (Carmen Diaz); Gavin Creel (Nick Piazza); Dwayne Chattman (Tyrone Jackson); Carl Tramon (Schlomo Metzenbaum); Robert Creighton (Goodman “Goody” King); Amy Ehrlich (Grace “Lambchops” Lamb); Nadine Isenegger (Iris Kelly); José Restrepo (Joe “José” Vegas); Dioni Michelle Collins (Mabel Washington); Regina Le Vert (Miss Ester Sherman); Kim Cea (Miss Greta Bell); Richard G. Rodgers (Mr. Myers); William Linton (Mr. Sheinkopf); Jennifer Gambatese (Serena Katz); Michelle Aguilar Camaya, Clyde Alves, Eric Lee Brotherson, Jessica Cohen, Tammy Dyke, Rhett George, Hollie Howard, Robert C. Johnson, Philip Dean Lightstone, Tera-Lee Pollin (Students);
Swings: Daniel Cruz, Jr , Jené Hernandez, Jennifer K. Mrozik, Keith Pinto, Michael Rose and Danita Salamida
Understudies: Eric Lee Brotherson (Nick Piazza, Goodman “Goody” King), Kim Cea (Miss Ester Sherman), Robert Creighton (Joe “José” Vegas), Daniel Cruz, Jr. (Schlomo Metzenbaum, Goodman “Goody” King), Rhett George (Tyrone Jackson), Jené Hernandez (Carmen Diaz), Hollie Howard (Serena Katz, Iris Kelly), Philip Dean Lightstone (Schlomo Metzenbaum), Jennifer K. Mrozik (Grace “Lambchops” Lamb, Miss Greta Bell, Serena Katz), Keith Pinto (Joe “José” Vegas, Nick Piazza), Danita Salamida (Mabel Washington, Grace “Lambchops” Lamb) and Dan Shaheen (Mr. Myers, Mr. Sheinkopf)
Nick Piazza – Darren Ritchie; Serena Katz – Sheri Sanders; Joe “Jose” Vegas – Jose Restrepo; Carmen Diaz – Natasha Neary; Mabel Washington – Catrice Joseph; Grace “Lambchops” Lamb – Amy Ehrlich; Miss Ester Sherman – Regina Le Vert; Schlomo Metzenbaum – Carl Tramon; Tyrone Jackson – Dwayne Chattman; Mr. Myers – Richard G. Rodgers; Miss Greta Bell – Sophina Brown; Mr. Sheinkopf – Herman Petras; Iris Kelly – Jessica Cohen; Goodman “Goody” King – Jason Maniscalco; Students: Deanna Aguinaga, Daniel Cruz Jr., David Garcia, James T. Lane, Tara Lynn Mouri, Erika Weber.
As Founder and CEO of Theatre.com and BuyBroadway.com. The pioneer in moving the Broadway industry onto the internet. The theatre press branded me as “Toby is the man pushing theatre, kicking and screaming, into cyberspace.” What started in 1989 as a Broadway industry service called ShowCall via dialup BBS for members of the League of American Theatre Producers evolved onto the world wide web in the early 90’s, and shortly after this, the vast majority of Broadway shows (starting with my production of Victor/Victoria) and theatrical organizations followed. The “Super site of Broadway” became a publicly traded company, prior to my re-branding it as Theatre.com at the Minskoff Theatre.
Described by Variety Magazine as a “marketing powerhouse“, it was the single largest theatre community in the world with over 180,000 active members (in the 1990’s this was massive). From buying official Broadway tickets and souvenirs, providing detailed global show listings, interactive show study & educational guides, live streaming shows and events (including many Opening Nights live broadcasts), industry news from major theatre journalists, pictures and videos, games, messaging directly to Broadway cast’s backstage or even licensing a musical, theatre.com offered it all in a single, easy-to-use interface to theatregoers globally.
Did You Know?
The tour was in development for 7 years, was directed and choreographed by Swedish star Lars Bethke, who directed successful productions of the musical in Sweden and Germany.
Along with Toronto, tour stops included Montreal, Baltimore, Washington DC, Norfolk VA, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago and Las Vegas.
The musical premiered at Miami’s Coconut Grove Playhouse in 1988 and was later seen at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, but had never been presented on Broadway or as a U.S. national tour.
A group of vibrant, energetic young people, African-American, white, Hispanic, rich and poor alike, converge on 46th Street to audition for the chance to study at the famous New York High School of Performing Arts. Praying they make “P.A.”, the students tear open a letter from the school, learn of their acceptance and begin a joyous dance of celebration.
On the first day of school, the freshman meet Miss Sherman, their English teacher, who warns them that it takes a lot more than dreams to succeed at “P.A.” The students, with a mixture of excitement, trepidation and raw energy, acknowledge that what it really takes to succeed is hard work.
Drama Class. Nick and Serena rehearse a scene and discuss their life experiences. Nick’s goal in life is to move people emotionally. Mr. Myers, the drama teacher asks his students to recall how a physical sensation can trigger an emotional response. Joe, a funny, uninhibited young man, graphically recounts the very personal reactions that occur whenever he thinks of a certain beautiful girl in dance class.
Dance Class. Tyrone, a sexy, streetwise African-American, is partnered with Iris, a very wealthy, classically-trained dancer. Iris obnoxiously derides Tyrone’s lack of classical dance experience. Tyrone, enraged at her comments, begins a rap which expresses his anger. Iris apologizes and, unexpectedly, kisses him passionately.
While Nick and Serena rehearse another scene, she tells him of her yearning to try something romantic and passionate. It becomes obvious Serena is in love with Nick. Nick, concerned only with acting, becomes upset and leaves. Heartbroken, Serena laments her unrequited love.
At lunch, Carmen, a self-assured, cocky Latina spitfire, dreams of seeing her name in lights and people gasping as she walks down the street. The other students join in her fantasy and begin an exciting, electrifying dance.
The hallway. Miss Sherman expresses concern over Tyrone’s care-free attitude towards education and threatens to keep him out of the Fall Festival if his grades don’t improve. Miss Bell overhears this and argues that Tyrone’s artistic talent is more important than his academic ability. As Tyrone threatens to drop out of school, the other students try to focus on the reason why they are really there.
After two arduous but rewarding years, the students now begin their junior year with the P.A. Fall Festival.
Dance rehearsal. Mabel, a bit overweight for a dancer but full of spunk and wit, complains about the water her body is retaining. In a hilarious yet touching turn, she prays aloud for God’s help in keeping her from becoming “the world’s fattest dancer”.
The scene shifts. Serena enters to see Carmen and Nick kissing. Heartbroken once again, Serena tearfully remembers one of the first lessons she learned at P.A. and tries to channel her emotions into her acting.
Carmen confronts Schlomo with her plan to leave school and go to Los Angeles. She has met a Hollywood agent named Elliot Greene, who is sending her a plane ticket. Schlomo begs her not to go. He has seen her get into Elliot’s limousine outside of school before and accuses her of using cocaine with him. Schlomo tells Carmen he loves her, but when he realizes he is powerless to stop her, he turns his attention to his violin.
In Miss Sherman’s English class, Tyrone is spotted reading a Superman comic book. Miss Sherman confronts him by forcing him to stand up in front of the class and read from the comic book. Embarrassed, he accuses her of trying to make him look stupid: “Wanna fail me again? Go ahead. I’ll pass in summer school, bitch.” Miss Sherman gives him a resounding slap in the face and walks off. Defensively, Tyrone says to his shocked classmates he doesn’t need her help. “I’m choreographin’ my own life.” This leads to his fantasy dance number, “Dancin’ on the Sidewalk.” Confronting his pain and frustration, Tyrone goes to the blackboard, writes “I Will Read,” and runs off. Miss Sherman enters, sees what he has written, and is deeply touched.
A baroque trumpet-call sounds as the drama students rehearse Romeo and Juliet. Joe, insecure playing Romeo, has been ad-libbing. Serena pleads with him to be serious in the part. Nick offers to show him how to play Romeo and winds up kissing Serena in their first romantic moment. Tyrone asks Iris why she has been avoiding him all year. She says she doesn’t want to be tied to a loser. He takes out a copy of Leaves of Grass and reads to her, showing her he has a whole new attitude about learning. They dance a pas de deux.
Mr. Sheinkopf, Mr. Myer and Miss Sherman confront Miss Bell about influencing a summer school teacher to pass Tyrone even though he never showed up. They insist he must repeat the year. But the Dance Theatre of Harlem is ready to take him, says Miss Bell. “Let them wait!” says Mr. Sheinkopf. Miss Bell, left alone with Miss Sherman, finally admits she may be losing her perspective and suggests she take a sabbatical.
Carmen is standing in front of the school looking physically wasted and disoriented. She spots Schlomo and after a warm embrace, she tells him the truth about her experiences in Hollywood. Carmen promises him she is going to go for her equivalency diploma, but right now she needs money. He gives her a couple of dollars and sadly departs.
At the farewell party, everyone is dressed up and the celebration is loud and festive. Tyrone tells Miss Sherman he is going to repeat his senior year and give her another chance to whip him into shape. Joe announces not only is Lambchops finally wearing a dress, but he is going to be opening at a comedy club – and they’d all better be there. Serena is on her way to Brooklyn College and Nick is headed for Yale. They wonder about their future together.
- Pray I Make P.A. …. Students
- Hard Work …. Company
- I Want to Make Magic …. Nick
- Can’t Keep It Down …. Joe and Students
- Tyrone’s Rap …. Tyrone
- There She Goes! …. Carmen and Students
- Fame …. Carmen and Students
- Let’s Play a Love Scene …. Serena
- Bring on Tomorrow …. Schlomo and Carmen
- Teachers’ Argument, The …. Miss Bell and Miss Sherman
- Hard Work (Reprise) …. Students
- The Junior Festival …. Students
- Think of Meryl Streep …. Serena
- Mabel’s Prayer …. Mabel and Girls
- Dancin’ on the Sidewalk …. Tyrone and Students
- These Are My Children …. Miss Sherman
- Pas-de-Deux, The …. Tyrone and Iris
- In L.A. …. Carmen
- Let’s Play a Love Scene (Reprise) …. Nick and Serena
- Bring on Tomorrow (Reprise) …. Company
- Carmen Diaz – A sexy and confident, but cocky, dancer with a big ego. Carmen is determined to make it big and is obsessed with the idea of fame, nearly to a fault. – Female, 15-20 yrs old ( Range: A3 – F5)
- Ensemble – STUDENTS
- Goodman King – A musician who is in Schlomo’s band. He is believed to be Schlomo’s best friend. – Male, 15-20 yrs old ( Range: F3 – G#4)
- Grace Lamb (Lambchops) – loud, confrontational rock chick and tomboy who plays the drums for Schlomo’s band. She often loses her temper and it is implied that she does not take school seriously. – Female, 15-20 yrs old ( Range: A3 – B4)
- Iris Kelly – A very talented, graceful ballet dancer who often comes across as snobbish and mean because of her insecurities with herself. She shares a difficult relationship with Tyrone. Female, 15-20 yrs old ( Range: D4 – F5)
- Joe Vegas – An acting student. Loud, funny, and comical. He develops a crush on Carmen. – Male, 15-20 yrs old ( Range: C3 – C5)
- Mabel Washington – A loud and overweight dancer and singer who is desperate to shed the pounds but can’t resist food. Often speaks her mind and gives out advice to others in their times of trouble. – Female, 15-20 yrs old ( Range: D4 – E5)
- Miss Esther Sherman – A strict, old-fashioned English teacher who loves her students despite the fact that she comes down hard on them. – Female, 30-50 yrs old ( Range: F3 – E5)
- Miss Greta Bell – A dance teacher with a passion for different styles of dance. Believes that dance is a way of life and is very protective of her students. – Female, 35-50 yrs old ( Range: A3 – E5)
- Mr. Myers – A laid back drama teacher with an obsession for human psychology. – Male, 35-50 yrs old (Speaking Role)
- Mr. Sheinkopf – European Music tutor with a love for classical music and dislike for all things rock and roll. –
Male, 35-50 yrs old (Speaking Role)
- Nick Piazza – Ambitious, enthusiastic, classical actor who is very serious about his craft. He holds a hidden romantic interest for Serena. – Male, 15-20 yrs old (Range: A2 – G4)
- Schlomo Metzenbaum – A classical violinist who starts a rock band. He is fed up from the strain of his famous violinist father’s expectations. He is very wise and academically clever. – Male, 15-20 yrs old (Range: C3 – F4)
- Serena Katz – A shy and timid, yet keen and enthusiastic actress. She is attracted to Nick. – Female, 15-20 yrs old (Range: G#3 – Eb5)
- Tyrone Jackson – A talented but dyslexic hip hop dancer who comes from a poor background. Shares a difficult relationship with Iris. – Male, 15-20 yrs old (Range: D3 – Bb4)