Hytner Film, "Center Stage," Focuses on the Dance, w/ Bway Stars in the Cast; Opens May 12

News   Hytner Film, "Center Stage," Focuses on the Dance, w/ Bway Stars in the Cast; Opens May 12 What would the movie "Fame" be like if a Royal Shakespeare Company director directed it?

What would the movie "Fame" be like if a Royal Shakespeare Company director directed it?

The answer to that question might be found in the film, "Center Stage," directed by RSC vet Nicholas Hytner and opening in nationwide release May 12.

Director Hytner, also known for staging Carousel and Miss Saigon in London and New York, and directing the period pieces "The Crucible" and "The Madness of King George" on film, turns to a backstage yarn for "Center Stage."

Carol Heikkinen ("The Thing Called Love," "Empire Records") wrote the screenplay of the Columbia picture, rated PG-13, about a tight-knit group of dancers studying ballet at a dance academy and vying for their places in the world of professional dance.

Broadway veterans, as well as dancer-newcomers, are part of the cast and creative team: Donna Murphy (Passion), Debra Monk (The Time of the Cuckoo) and Peter Gallagher (Guys and Dolls) have non- dancing roles, and Broadway choreographer Susan Stroman (Contact, The Music Man, Big, Crazy For You) created the dances in the picture. The nubile dancers, struggling with swollen egos, hurt feelings, eating disorders, crushes and (one can only guess) potential career-ending injuries, are played by Amanda Schull, Zoe Saldana, Susan May Pratt, Ethan Stiefel, Sascha Radetsky, Ilia Kulik, Eion Bailey and Shakiem Evans.

For more information, try the movie's official web site: http://www.unitic.com/centerstage.

-- By Kenneth Jones