VAIL — Everyone wants to be famous, at least everyone in “Fame.”
Vail Mountain School’s spring production is “Fame,” the play/movie about the iconic New York City High School for the Performing Arts. You know the one; it has you singing “Baby Remember My Name.”
“When this version came available, I jumped on it for the Vail Mountain School,” said Colin Meiring, the director. “They have phenomenal singers, dancers and actors, and for this production they’re needed in great quantity.”
The cast of 55 has been rehearsing since March with Meiring and Annah Scully, directors of the Vail Performing Arts Academy. All three VMS schools are participating, and the cast ranges from 8-18 years old.
“Some of the lead roles are eighth-graders and some are high schoolers. It’s an across the board division of talent in this one,” Meiring said.
Fame for fun
For the uninitiated, “Fame” is based on David DeSilva’s 1980 musical film. The stage musical premiered in 1988 in Miami as “Fame on 42nd Street” and was performed Off-Broadway from 2003 to 2004. The film was followed by a six-season television series and the musical.
“Fame” is the story of several students who attend the High School of Performing Arts, among them fame-obsessed drug addict Carmen (Georgia Hintz), ballet prodigy Iris (Colby Wilson) and talented but dyslexic dancer Tyrone (Luke McKeever).
“I love doing this show because it was a nice way to encompass all the different ages of VMS students,” Hintz said. “It’s been so much fun to watch this show come together. It’s going to be great. We’ve all worked very hard.”
The musical is a good fit for a school with a diverse student body, McKeever said.
“He’s a fairly aggressive character. He’s kind of the exact opposite of what I am. But it’s a chance for me to act like I’m yelling at a lot of people,” McKeever said.
Tyrone’s love interest is Iris, a ballet dancer, which works out well because Wilson has been studying ballet with Studio 8100 since she was 5 years old. She was listening to the soundtrack and connected with Iris.
“She’s such a hard core dancer, and that’s what I want to pursue,” Wilson said.
A massive cast with so many younger kids was no problem, Wilson said. Vail Mountain School has a mentor program that everyone’s a part of.
The mentor premise is not complicated. Behave in ways you want the little kids to behave, and encourage them to behave like that, as well.
“When I was younger I looked up to the older kids. It’s my turn now,” Wilson said.
“Fame” has big production-value dance numbers because Meiring likes that sort of thing.
Still, it’s the vocal performances that make “Fame” sing, Meiring said.
Sometimes in a high school production you want to fast forward through a number because the kids just can’t perform that piece. That’s not the case with “Fame.”
“Every single number is spot on. The vocals are amazing thanks to Melinda Carlson. She connected with them and got them singing like the soundtrack. The vocals are the strongest part of the production,” Meiring said.
Meiring started performing at the age of 6, winning ballroom dancing titles all over South Africa. He tried his hand at musical theater, television and film and performed in national tours of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Grease,” “Camelot,” “A Chorus Line” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
He performed with Ertha Kit, Ben Vereen, Gloria Estefan, Mary Wilson and Tony Danza while entertaining for Royal Caribbean and Silversea Cruises.
He performed on Broadway and in the national tour of “Fosse.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.