Hempfield FAME Musical: The Theatrical Climb

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Evan Dillow

This spring Hempfield will be putting on a performance of the popular FAME musical that will combine the talent of dance theater and the spring musical.

The show will begin on Friday, April 23 with three performances each weekend for two weekends. Show times will be available from April 30 at 5:00 PM to May 2 at 11:59 PM.

Viewing of the performance will be available via livestream which viewers will be able to purchase on demand.

FAME is a theatrical production based on a musical film of the same name from 1980. The plot follows a diverse group of students at an elite performing arts school in New York. As the students develop and master their craft, they must compete with one another and face various challenges.

The challenges the characters of FAME face is important and relatable for students right now.

The musical was chosen because of its plot revolving around the struggles of high school aged students. This relates to the struggles that students face with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Production of the FAME musical has been stressful for both the students and directors. Mr. Ramos, the musical director, commented “The idea of students
struggling with academics during the pandemic influenced the decision.”

Having students leave because of contact tracing has been a stressful issue. Students being at home for two weeks has slowed down progress.

Mr. Ramos has stated that constant tracing has been the largest concern. “Having students leave because of contact tracing is a stressful issue. It is a big deal,” he said, “it is especially bad if a lead actor is contact traced.” Some students have been out for as much as four weeks.

Students have had some disappointment about this year’s production. Wearing masks and having less of an audience has been upsetting for the actors.

Several theater students have chimed in on their opinion on this year’s production.

Macie Lake, a junior performer, stated “We’re not able to show off hard work. Broadway needs 100% capacity to be worth it.”

At the beginning, directors questioned how it would be possible to create this year’s production with all of the guidelines and restrictions caused by the pandemic. Both Mr. Ramos and Ms. Heinrich stated what they thought was positive about this year’s production as well as their apprehensions.

Having students out for this long has led to setbacks in production, but for both students and directors hopes remain high. One of the positives has been getting to have theater this year at all.

In the beginning, directors all agreed that this troubled year “had to have something. We wanted there to be something.” They wanted students to have fun and enjoy making a production, even though it has been a stressful year.

Ms. Heinrich, the Dance theater director, has stated “This year has a true blend of people singing, dancing, and playing instruments.” Students and directors agreed that combining dance theater and the musical would create a more exciting production.

Despite the setbacks, students involved with the production have something to look forward to. Students agreed that still being able to sing and perform, even with less of an audience, was something to be excited about.

Alana Halliday has said that this year’s production still retains some of the charm of previous years. “A lot of dancing, being able to work with people, and it’s just fun,” she said, “being able to still have a musical and be able to make it better.”

Students are still enjoying making theater productions, and there is strong optimism about the show this year.

Even for all the precautions and setbacks, students and directors remain optimistic that this year’s performance will go well. They are enjoying working on it to make it fun for the audience.