Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 9, 2016

‘Fame’ Wednesday at Sondheim

■ Local talent will join the Broadway professional performers
Nov 10, 2016

The high-octane Broadway musical “Fame – The Musical” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.

The national tour of the musical that inspired generations to fight for fame and light up the sky like a flame will feature walk-on roles for seven southeast Iowa budding live theater performers.

In what has been described as an “opportunity of a lifetime” by James Murtha, “Fame — The Musical” producer from the New York famed Gurtman & Murtha Artist Management, five Ottumwa High School students will play the walk-on roles of students and three adults will play the walk-on roles of teachers.

The Ottumwa High School students, sharing the stage with the nationally touring cast are Chris Caldwell, senior; Esther Emberton, junior; Isabella O’Brien, junior; and Phillip Shrimplin, sophomore.

“There aren’t many opportunities that come along for high school students to perform on a stage of the Sondheim theater’s caliber alongside Broadway professional performers,” said Rustin Lippincott, executive director of the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. “We are ecstatic for what they are about to experience with the national tour of ‘Fame’ coming to Fairfield. We couldn’t be more excited for these students, their families and all live performance enthusiasts across southeast Iowa. Enriching the lives of people in southeast Iowa is part of our landscape and tapestry at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.”

Playing the roles of teachers are Lexus Waymire, vocal music teacher at Lynnville-Sully Community School District, and Natalie Dommer, speech and theater teacher at Ottumwa High School.

The final area resident joining the cast on the stage is Pekin High School graduate and Hedrick native, Torie Hollingsworth. A Central College graduate, minoring in music and theater, Hollingsworth is no stranger to the stage and certainly no stranger to the Sondheim stage as she is currently the ticket office manager and volunteer coordinator at convention center.

“Torie is an amazing vocal talent that spends her days and nights greeting patrons at the Sondheim’s performances,” said Lippincott. “It’s only fitting that she gets to have a taste of performing again, this time alongside her peers singing of the high school students’ struggles, fears and triumphs. Not the type to request the spotlight, this opportunity is even more special for Torie. Her co-workers have encouraged her to perform and they will be there at the Sondheim to experience it with her.

“We proudly create opportunities for thousands of people to be amazed, inspired and entertained at our performances,” said Lippincott. “For a few people, for a few minutes, they will have the opportunity to create a memory to last a lifetime. This is a dream for performers and we are thrilled to shine the lights on our area budding theater stars.”

The show follows the final class of New York City’s celebrated High School for the Performing Arts from their admission in 1980 to their graduation in 1984. Chosen from some 4,000 students that applied, only 97 were admitted. All of their struggles, fears and triumphs, from prejudice to substance abuse, are depicted with razor-sharp focus as the young artists navigate the worlds of music, drama and dance.

After reaching some 60 million people in over 30 countries, “Fame – The Musical” is a brilliantly transformed and riveting journey conceived from the unforgettable Academy Award-winning film and subsequent Emmy Award-winning television series. The song, with its unforgettable lyrics – “Fame, I’m gonna live forever! Baby, remember my name” — is universally known and is the fever pitch anthem that drives the characters forward in their quest.

“This show will have our patrons dancing in the aisles,” said Kadie Dennison, marketing manager at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. “All of us will be rooting for these young artists to fight for and realize their dreams while we enjoy the fast paced choreography and fantastic music of ‘Fame – The Musical.’”

Tickets for “Fame – The Musical” are $47 for Zone 1, $41 for Zone 2, $30 for Zone 3 and $20 for Zone 4 and $15 for youth and student tickets.

Tickets are available at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center ticket office, 472-2787 and online at www.FairfieldACC.com.

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