Fame To Start North American Tour in Toronto Nov. 9

News   Fame To Start North American Tour in Toronto Nov. 9
After two years of success in the West End and touring throughout Europe, the musical Fame will at last launch a North American tour, beginning Nov. 9, at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre.

After two years of success in the West End and touring throughout Europe, the musical Fame will at last launch a North American tour, beginning Nov. 9, at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre.

Here are the tentative tour dates:
Nov. 9-Dec. 19: Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre.
Dec. 28, 1998-Jan. 2, 1999: Philadelphia, PA, Merriam.
Jan. 4-9, 1999: Ottawa, Canada, National Arts Center
Jan. 11-16: Chicago, IL, Chicago Theatre
Jan. 18-23: Milwaukee, WI, Riverside Theatre
Jan. 25-30: Minneapolis, MN,
Feb. 2-6: Norfolk, VA, Chrysler Auditorium
Feb. 8-13: Washington, DC, Warner Theatre
Feb. 15-20: Wallingford, CT, Oakdale Theatre
Feb. 22-26: Providence, RI, Providence PAC
Mar. 2-6: Rochester, NY
Mar. 8-13: Hershey, PA, Hershey Theatre
Mar. 15-17: Utica, NY,
Mar. 22-27: Baltimore, MD, Lyric Opera House
Mar. 29-Apr. 3: Naples, FL, Philharmonic Center
Apr. 5-10: Miami, FL, Jackie Gleason Theatre
Apr. 12-17: Greenville, SC, Peace Center
Apr. 19-24: Montreal, Canada, Place des Artes
Apr. 26-May 1: Detroit, MI
May 3-8: Kansas City, MO
May 10-13: Schenectady, NY, Proctor's Theatre
May 17-22: Wilmington, DE, Playhouse Theatre
May 24-29: TBA
May 31-June 5: TBA
June 7-12: Greensboro, NC, Coliseum/War Memorial
June 14-19: Kalamazoo, MI, Western Michigan University
June 21-26: Indianapolis, IN, Clowes Memorial Hall - Butler University.

Here are the songs in the show:

"Hard Work"
"I Want to Make Magic"
"Can't Keep It Down"
"Tyrone's Rap"
"There She Goes!/Fame"
"Let's Play a Love Scene"
"The Teachers' Argument"
"Hard Work" (Reprise)
"I Want To Make Magic" (Reprise)
"Mabel's Prayer"
"Think of Meryl Streep"
"Dancin' on the Sidewalk"
"These Are My Children"
"In L.A."
"Let's Play a Love Scene" (Reprise)
"Bring on Tomorrow"

Fame began in 1980 as a movie musical about students at New York's High School for the Performing Arts. It won two Academy Awards and in 1982 became a television series, running for six years. The television series has since been seen in 68 countries and a spin-off series, "Fame L.A.," is now in production. The tour, which has been in development for seven years, is directed and choreographed by Swedish star Lars Bethke, who directed successful productions of the musical in Sweden and a production currently touring Germany. Music for the stage production is by Steve Margoshes with lyrics by Jacques Levy (best known for co-writing a number of songs on Bob Dylan's "Desire" album), and book by Jose Fernandez.

Composer Margoshes won a Drama Desk Award for his orchestrations of The Who's Tommy on Broadway. Other Broadway orchestration credits include Smokey Joe's Cafe and Grease!. Librettist Fernandez, who appeared on Broadway in The Me Nobody Knows, died of AIDS in 1994.

Spokesperson Alice Herrick (of Cromarty & Co.) told Playbill On-Line (May 20) there were no current plans to bring the show to Broadway yet. "They want to see how the tour goes, hear what people are saying, etc."

Asked about casting for the U.S. Tour, Herrick said, "The producers hope to take the best elements of the London and international stagings. The show just finished in Paris and the response was sensational."

The Toronto engagement runs to Dec. 19. After that, tentative tour stops include Montreal, Baltimore, Washington DC, Norfolk VA, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago and Las Vegas. Dates and venues have not been set, but Susan Weaving with the William Morris Agency told Playbill On-Line (Aug. 1997) tickets will be sold as part of subscription series. She added, "If the North American production goes wild, maybe they'll come to New York."

The stage musical premiered at Miami's Coconut Grove Playhouse in 1988 and was later seen at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre, but has never been presented on Broadway or as a U.S. national tour.

[Side Note: An upcoming production of the musical at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, WA this summer is not connected to the tour. The WA mounting, part of the company's KIDSTAGE Theatre Arts Education Program, is directed and choreographed by Jaime Nipple. Designing the show are Christina Hughes (costumes) and Cory Kringlen (lighting). For tickets to Fame: The Musical at the Village Theatre, July 30-Aug. 16, call (425) 392-2202.]

Self-proclaimed "father Fame" David De Silva conceived the story of Fame and developed the musical. A major North American production has taken so long, he said (in 1997), "because we ideally belong between Broadway and Off-Broadway. We can't set it up as a $75 ticket."

De Silva recently created the Father Fame Foundation and with it he hopes, "To present Fame every summer in New York City with New York City students." The proposed venue is the New York State Theatre at Lincoln Center. If De Silva finds the sponsor he is looking for, Fame fest could begin in Aug. 1999. "I want to be The Nutcracker in the summer," he said. What's most important to Da Silva, a former teacher, with this project, "is the education" it would give students, "I feel the time is right so that people are exposed to all levels of theatre arts."

Fame has already made its way around the world, including a German tour (with an American cast) that reached Milan, Vienna, Zurich and Paris. A Japanese production played in Tokyo; Polish and Spanish productions both toured.

-- By Laura MacDonald
David Lefkowitz

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