'Fame' offers theatrical struggles, hope ... and one super-catchy theme song!

Preview by Joshua Maloni

Carmen (Lucy Ann Werner) leads the charge of "Fame" at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. "Fame - The Musical" is on stage this weekend and next at Artpark. (photo by Matt Buckley/MMBArts Photography and Artpark)Though the storyline is a little thin, Artpark & Co.'s production of "Fame - The Musical" does, in fact, light up the sky like a flame. A talented cast and bright, lively dance numbers make up for character deficiencies and odd time jumps.

Set in 1980 at New York City's High School for the Performing Arts, "Fame" tells the tale of a ragtag group of students, each one dressed as befitting the decade of Madonna, Spandau Ballet and "Miami Vice," and praying to become a real, live star. Though these teens are the cream of the crop of a vast applicant pool, they're told right from the start success will only come from hard work. Their subjects - acting, dance, music - are "the hardest professions in the world."

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'Fame' lives forever at Artpark

"Fame" schedule (Artpark graphic)"Fame" is nothing short of a global phenomenon. From the smash hit 1980 motion picture, to the long-running TV series, music critics have called the story "a feel-good triumph" for more than three decades. Now, the red-hot, emotionally charged stage show, seen by millions of people worldwide, is coming to Lewiston.

"Fame - The Musical" returns to the Artpark stage after a 10-year absence in time to capture the interest and current passions of "High School Musical" fans and "Glee"-lovers. Packed with high-energy stage performances, and carrying the message of determination in the face of life's challenges, the show promises to be a can't miss review in the style of recent productions including "Aida," "Beauty and the Beast," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "All Shook Up."

The show is on stage Aug. 12-18.

Set during the last years of New York City's celebrated High School for the Performing Arts on 46th Street (1980-84), "Fame - The Musical" is a bittersweet but ultimately inspiring story of a diverse group of students as they commit to four years of grueling artistic and academic work. With candor, humor and insight, the show explores the issues that confront many young people today, including prejudice, identity, self-worth, literacy, sexuality, substance abuse and perseverance.

"Fame" is directed by Randy Kramer and choreographed by Lynne Kurdziel-Formato.

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Photos by Joshua Maloni and Matt Buckley/MMBArts Photography

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