It gets to be something beyond words when you get into the next to last night and last night of Fame, for many reasons, among many different casts and many different outputs of events.
The fourth night emphasized the importance of what Fame was trying to get across – and I felt it did. Cementing that despite the cast – you should take each scene in as an experience – so you want examples right? Of curse you do and heck, what is a post without specific examples?
“Hard Work” established the fact that – despite criticism, despite the individuals that seem to know you, the dreams, the aspirations you have are still yours. These remained intact as a whole group and seemed even more possible. What was exciting was to see the members eyes as they sang this and you coul see the exhilaration as one unit when they sang this. This was a great way to begin. In the very first show, it seemed not rhythmic – not a song you’d imagine, at least to me, and then by the fourth and fifth show, I looked forward to it. Funny how that works. LOL.
“I Want to Make Magic” and reprise – Arturo and Susanne bring a sense of “magic” to this scene – and I thought it was just me, but no, both have grown into this role much. By the fourth night – Susanne’s voice – it just gre stronger and more confident – and you could sense that. Arturo’s emotions were flowing and you could definitely feel this – which was exciting to see this building and building into the role more and more every night. When Arturo returns to this score in the second half, you still get a sense of building on what he hopes for as Nick, and you continue to feel this, not just left to feel it in the first half, but as well as see it all the way to the end.
“Can’t Keep it Down” – Aside from the enthusiasm and the laughter Joe Vegas brings to the stage Pablo was GREAT. I LOVED the music track LOVED, and the reactions of the cast as a whole, and supporting his various stories, you become hooked to seeing Pablo from hereon after – and the pulse of the show is born.
“Tyrone’s Rap” – Tyrone does not just bring the character to life through is ability to portray machismo, his reactions to Iris get better and faster as the shows progress, and he does an amazing job of representing a character outside of his usual persona, but one essential to FAME. (You might be tempted to see the old show WE watched and see how the attitude and persona carried over from the original show). Don’t forget, Iris, thanks to Nicole also brought out so much of these scenes and Jorge as well. Of course, the language and rap is older audience intended, and yes, it works. It works well.
“There She Goes” and Reprise – Love. Isabel brought this home Friday and then some. Her voice, powerful, steady, strong, it brings back the roles she has played in the past musicals, easily. The supporting cast – absolutely amazing as well in playing the fans and the following Carmen has in mind. Every level and moment of the song felt right and you really dig into what PA and Fame means to the cast, on and off stage, starting with one person and spreading to everyone. When you see the second Act of “There She Goes”, you see Isabel bring Carmen to the height she dreams of, and Pablo able to support that amid his hilarity, but also with this talent. Red is perfect and appropriate, matching the colorful personalities as well – and the song resides alongside you.
“Let’s Play a Love Scene” – As I mentioned, I felt Susanne really came into her own on Thursday with not only her voice, but this scene, this song, this moment with Arturo and Susanne, and you get a sense you are caught between high school and the transition between someone who has a little more than a crush – that ties to her future, and maybe his. At first I as like, okay, maybe a little too emotional and mushy for me. I got over it by the fourth night thanks to the quality of the songs with the cast.
“Bring on Tomorrow” – I love the personality and the pushiness (slight) Isabel brings to this characters. The naturalness that Pedro brings to the character – reacting to the teasing of another, nothing is unbelievable here in the least – and you LOVE seeing what will be the ending theme play out.
“The Teacher’s Argument” – I have to admit, at first I found this scene rocky, between the music design, the tempo, it just didn’t work for me as far as the feel – what Ximena and maria brought to the characters were more adult-like than I expected. I left Thursday with a much better liking for this score, with some preferable parts to others, but overall, you become impressed with the topic of the argument and the intensity of the characters, and at least for me, I preferred this to the actual score of the song. The maturity and “adultness” represented – I do not think could be done by any other cast members.
“Hard Work” – Again what reinforces the anticipation of this score is the intensity of every single member of FAME as they look directly upwards into the audience, and you can see the dreams they hold close. Every cast member at this moment is a lead, and that is important that every member feels and shows this. If you look closely over the period of four nights, you see this as evident as what the main theme of Fame is supposed to be. Each one represents this perfectly.
“Think of Meryl Streep” – Susanne at first, due to the first scene, comes off as a PA potential with a crush, so that is cute. Yet, the seriousness she brings when it comes to her voice erases that first element, and you realize, she is working through a relationship and her ability to become something more at the same time. it is funny to hear references to actresses we know, yet, Susanne convinces you she is getting a grasp on herself as a professional, and yes, she is doing this on and off stage. It makes you feel better seeing the maturity of a singer, as well as playing Serena, occur before your eyes.
“Mabel’s Prayer”- Honestly. Enough can’t be said about Mabel throughout the WHOLE musical. Her smile, her sassiness, her VOICE! Yet, she still manages to bring a smile to your face with the ability she has in her voice, her personality, and she just BRINGS it. LOVE this song, love the fact that Iris becomes a priest at one point, and how Carmen becomes involved and in turn, every member becomes involved in this scene. You see glints of Mabel (Sofia) early on and the humor she can bring and does bring, but here you capitalize on the power of all these elements and you wish you had been able to see her even more so – yet you get the feeling this is NOT the last you will see of her as a result of this great performance.
“Dancing on the Sidewalk” – This is one of those scores again that the firs few time, not sure how I felt about it. it wasn’t the typical score that drew you in, it just was a part of the overall musical and yet as time passed, you begin to connect the emotional elements of what occurs in the scene to the score. By the fourth night, you take in the clapping and participation of the whole cast, and you begin to see how the leads contribute even more. Fourth night and yes, you are in a spot where this score is a welcome part, for me, it just took awhile due to the different sound and feel this score brought. Yet, amid all this, much energy and acting from Jorge and Maria, let alone the supporting cast that jumps in (the whole cast) makes this a score you appreciate more due to the amount of time you came to terms with it. I felt the cast was growing along with this score.
“These Are My Children” – Not your typical score, for me. It had its ups and downs vocally. Yet, you walk away with one main thing, at least I did. The unbelievable thought that Maria plays the role of an adult, AS an adult. She to me, WAS THE leader of the school and it felt as if that was her, and is, her calling. She pulls of this role perfectly, it fits her. You see the intensity of wanting to be in this position, a rough front that she puts on and the realization of how much more than the position, but the cast, means to her. I think there is alot of truth to these comments in reality, but seeing her intensity and passion through this score is a HUGE HUGE turn towards the conclusion of this production.
“In L.A.” – WOW. Isabel does a 360 and you feel this. You feel the soul, funk, and jazz aspects of the score funneled through Isabel and she brings this scene home. 100%. Despite the transformation shock of Carmen (done very well Paloma!) – you sense the overall goal of Fame from the rises to the falls, and your heart becomes part of the musical score when this scene concludes. The life lessons come through crystal clear due to the intensity and passion Isabel puts forth in her song, and Pedro only emphasizes this at the end of the scene.
“Let’s Play a Love Scene” – The final leg of this seems to be the measuring tape of the origination when we first saw Susanne and Arturo work through the idea of the relationship itself, the roles they played professionally and personally, and now you see the ending result. It is exciting to be able to sense this growth in characters, and I feel, they grew in the success of their voices and ability to get this across to the audience. I felt this transformation, not just since the beginning of the show, but since the beginning of the run of FAME, and you begin to see this reflective nature as the cast overall works through what will be their actual final time as well, of course through FAME but at ASF. I think you can only thin one thing, Bittersweet.
“Bring On Tomorrow” – I think I am right in saying the last night approacheth too soon. I felt this when I hear this song, and I also feel the loss of Carmen – many losses come rushing back and this score, with the ability of the whole cast to send it out to the audience? – it sums up what the FAME and PA experience is supposed to be, and then – it is too easy to see each cast member and see how this relates to them as you have watched them become a part of this production – hard to do as an audience member – so think how much that occurs as a cast member.
This was the fourth night words are words and truly can’t capture the feel this show has had over the course of every night, and yet I can tell you this. I can’t possibly do justice and go on to describe the fifth night yet. I am emotionally spent after reliving the highlights of this fourth night. Give me a few days, and then you will relive the last final night of FAME with me, with all the changes you happened to “stumble on” (sorry Arturo) – but to do it justice, it will need to be done right. 🙂 Seeing so many alumni come back to support this show was a prelude to what to expect for the last evening of Fame.