The musical Fame set ablaze by youthful dancers
Vladimír Čech 15. January 2008 zdroj Kam
The dance musical Fame, the four authors of which are David de Silva - concept, José Fernandez - libretto, Jacques Levy - song texts, Steve Margoshes - music, appeared in the south Moravian city for a short time: it was performed at the Brno City Theatre's musical theatre from its premiere on 27th October until 15th November 2007.
The musical Fame first appeared as a film (1980), followed by a TV show which lasted for several years, and it safely anchored at a theatre for the first time in Miami in 1988. Last year, Stanislav Moša organized a successful tour around the Netherlands (the premiere was on 8.3. in Nijmegen), where he cooperated as director with the Croatian choreographer Igor Barberić, conductor Karel Albrecht, scenographer Emil Konečný and costume designer Andrea Kučerová.
The same cast took part in the Brno series of Fame which is then being followed by a four-month tour around Europe. For this and for Brno, a company was selected from foreign auditions in which the British prevailed. There are only two Czechs - the dancers Michal Matěj and Aneta Majerová. Therefore, the musical was performed in English even in Brno, and as an aid to the domestic audience subtitles were simultaneously projected in Czech. The author of the Czech version was Michael Prostějovský.
Even if the spectators couldn't see the subtitles or had left their opera glasses at home, they could easily imagine the plot, at least roughly. On top of that, Fame is not based on a dramatic plot; it is mainly a mosaic, a suite of individual acts which reflect the peripeties of students at a prestigious secondary school in New York (New York High School for Performing Arts), which is similar to a Czech "konzervatoř". We follow the whole class of art students during the years 1980 to 1984 - they first meet during their entrance exams and finish with their graduation exam in academic dress and hats. They don't quite finish here, however, because this is followed by an extra section when a yellow taxi comes onto the stage and the ensemble, dressed in everyday clothes again, perform their most fiery creations.
If the musical got rave reviews in Brno - like everywhere else, in fact, where the Brno theatre performed it - it is mainly thanks to the dancing and singing of the young people whose youthful energy and enthusiasm is like a spark that sets the auditorium ablaze, and the spectators can feel that they are at least in London, if not directly on Broadway.
A dream of success
Claudius Wiedemann 7. January 2008 zdroj Augsburger Allgemeine
A guest performance of the legendary dance musical "Fame" by David de Silva received excited ovations at the town hall in Gersthofer.
"Artists are strange people, divine fools, endowed with a talent to break the rules. They don't like to be squeezed into rectangular schools." This is what Mrs Bell (Mairi Cowieson) and Miss Sherman (Nikki Renée) sing in their common duet - not only this song from the musical "Fame" provoked the spectators into excited cheering.
In a certain atmosphere of disunity, we watch a group of teenagers, each of whom dreams his or her dream: they hope for success, fame. They dream that they will become a new Dustin Hoffman or Robert de Niro. Mutual jealousy and dynamic processes within the group come into the foreground - the way to fame is difficult. And so not even in David de Silva's musical does everybody finish their education successfully.
This guest performance grabbed its audience with the very first group choreographical numbers, which featured a substantial degree of speed. The dialogues, performed alternately in German and in English, were fresh and adequate. Young actors, who were - as in the play - really great talents, danced and sang with burning enthusiasm to Steve Margoshes' live music.
A diploma in their pockets - applause
The emotionally tuned song sung by Serena (Christina van Leyen), "Let’s play a love scene", was also touching. Just how much power can be hidden in the musical voice was shown impressively by Nikki Renée in the song "These are my children." When the students finally received their diplomas, the spectators awarded top marks to all with their endless applause.
Fame - the musical event of the year!
22. December 2007 zdroj MF DNES
Brno City Theatre have been wiping the floor with most Prague musical productions for some time. After The Witches of Eastwick, they have produced the Czech premiere of the dance musical Fame. Director Stanislav Moša and choreographer Igor Barberić have filled the performance with artists who sing and dance excellently and who were chosen in auditions in London, except for two Czech performers. The show was first introduced in a successful tour of the Netherlands, and then it came home to Brno and reaped lavish praise: tickets became a scarce commodity.
Everybody wishes to be famous
Jana Svozilová 15. December 2007 zdroj Kult
Brno City Theatre has included in its repertoire, as a Czech premiere, a hit from the eighties - a musical about the desire for fame - Fame. The main idea and the conception of this cult performance originate from David de Silva. The libretto is the work of José Fernandez and the music is by Steve Margoshes.
The production team for this performance hardly needs to be introduced. The direction was carried out excellently by Stanislav Moša, who wasn't meeting this musical for the first time - he had already staged it in 2006 for a tour of Holland. Karel Albrecht was entrusted with the music production. Igor Barberić deserves recognition for the choreography, which radiates a unique energy. Andrea Kučerová was in charge of the purely contemporary costumes, and the simple scenery representing the building of the school of performing arts where the whole plot takes place is the work of Emil Konečný.
The exceedingly successful film of the same name from the eighties stands at the beginning of this phenomenon, which had already appeared in stage form in 1988 and today, almost twenty years after its premiere in Miami, has come to Brno. And with it, also a foreign cast which was created from auditions held in London and Hamburg.
Fame is a type of performance in which great emphasis is laid on the polyfunctionality of the participants. In the case of the young talents who perform in the Brno version of Fame, this condition is completely fulfilled. These people are singers, dancers and actors in one and they perform their skilled tasks with infinite energy and charisma.
The strongest element is undoubtedly Sean Selby, who embodies the promising dancer Tyron Jackson. His movement skills are at a very high level. Also the player of Carmen Diaz, Djalenga Scott, who performed the title song which is undoubtedly the most famous one - There she goes… Fame - excels in her expressive ability. As far as the vocal side is concerned, Laura Wilson, who plays Mabel Washington, a dance class student who doesn't have the strength to control her appetite, performs excellently. In Fame, the dancing, performances and singing are "devilishly good". The musical Fame enchants theatre-goers and fully deserves the standing ovations it has repeatedly received. Let's wish it success even during the tour abroad which will follow the performances in Brno.
The musical Fame in Brno
Petr Stoličný 4. December 2007 zdroj Theatre sk
During the times when we lived behind the Iron Curtain, theatre ensembles very seldom ventured into "the West". Regular tours around the countries of the western world were exceptional. Only two Prague ensembles were so successful that they travelled the world almost constantly. These were the 'Black' theatres of Jiří Srnec and Josef Lamka. They always practised something with new actors and then went out into the world with them. Several Black theatre ensembles thus performed in venues as distant as Las Vegas or Tokyo. The young theatre players tried in this way to get out and see the world, at least for a few months.
The building of a brighter tomorrow finished in 1989. We now live in a normal society where movement across the borders is something natural. That's why it is a bit strange that no theatre ensemble in the Czech Republic has made full use of this freedom and the possibility to export culture. Not until the recent activity of Brno City Theatre under the management of the director and manager Stanislav Moša. When the numerous tours of his own ensemble around Europe ceased to be enough, he tried to stage world-class musicals at home while also exporting them abroad – even earlier than the premiere of the performance was shown in his own theatre (for example, West Side Story, Hair). Musical theatre, however, is a big “eater” of talent. Brno is not the same as New York or London where there are quality musical actors queuing for auditions (do you remember the film Chorus line?) and where you can choose between the merely good and the best. Czech talent has been used up already, and auditions in Brno were not enough. Stanislav Moša decided to take a step which is unusual in these geographical latitudes. He organized the audition for the new international musical FAME in London.
He chose some excellent young talented actors and staged this well known and attractive work for audiences both in London and all around Europe, on tour. At the same time, there were a series of premieres in Brno, the musical theatre was hopelessly sold out all the time and Brno theatre-goers had no idea, in fact, that for example in Holland another chapter in the story of Brno City Theatre's stage productions was taking place. For example, the London cast put on thirty performances in 2006 just in Holland alone!
At the end of October, the musical FAME finally appeared also in Brno. Twenty-three actors who had been chosen at the London auditions acted there. Among them, only two names sounded Czech - Aneta Majerová and Michal Matej. Apart from them, there were a multitude of young, red haired, black haired, blonde and black actors. A beautiful and talented many-coloured company of young people.
Before the end of the year, the theatre in Brno will show twenty-two performances of the musical FAME, and then it will move on to other cities in Europe. If there is interest, the young actors from London will come back to Brno again. Maybe they will visit Prague as well, and who knows, perhaps also Bratislava. There would certainly be interest.
The musical FAME found itself on the big screen in 1989 after its theatre success, and this guaranteed the musical's immortality. It is played on many stages around the world and it is interesting that it came to the Czech Republic in this round-about way - performed by actors from a London audition, directed by the Brno City Theatre. A simple story from the famous New York High School of Performing Arts captures students’ lives from their entrance exams up to graduation. The dreams of young singers and actors come true; however, disappointment is also present, along with unrequited love and failures. All long for fame and ovations under the spotlight. Not everyone's dream will come true. Powerful music, demanding professional-standard choreography, youthful enthusiasm shining from the stage - this will probably captivate anyone who loves musicals.
Brno City Theatre has travelled with the musical FAME into a level of world-class theatre which knows no geographical or national boundaries. The play is performed in English, and there are subtitles as is common in today's opera performances. In this way, spectators in Brno can enjoy the performance in the same way as in Flanders or Germany.
The Columbus of Brno’s theatrical scene – Stanislav Moša
Miloš Hudec 15. November 2007 zdroj Echo
The head of Brno City Theatre has already surprised us many times with his unexpected ideas and discoveries. He is not only a discoverer but can also put his ideas into practice successfully, even though they might be demanding.
Last year, he set off to the Netherlands with his team in order to create and stage the famous American dance musical “FAME” with a multinational actors’ ensemble. Everything started from the very beginning. The cast for the roles was chosen, the dances, songs, music and stage were prepared and all was rehearsed again and again… It was a great success, worthy of five stars!!!! “An amazing dance show!”
A year later, Brno City Theatre has staged this musical again and performed it on its own stage as well. The group of actors was again multinational with Brits, Germans, Americans, but also our own actors - Aneta Majerová and Michal Matěj.
The premiere, which took place on 27th October, fascinated all that were present. The ballet, singing, acting and musical setting was perfect. After every solo, choir or dance number, absolutely everyone in the audience must have felt that shiver down their spine, and the adoring applause was endless. It will certainly be the same until 15th November when the performance will take place for the last time, due to copyright issues.
The authors of this currently famous musical production are David de Silva, José Fernandez and Jacques Levy, and the music was written by Steve Margoshes.
On the christening list of FAME, the following people dominate: direction – Stanislav Moša, conductor and music production - Karel Albrecht, choreography –Croatian Igor Barberić, stage Emil Konečný, costumes Andrea Kučerová, dramaturgist Pavlína Hoggard, and others.
From the actors, let’s name at least Christina van Leven, Hugo Harold – Harrison and Steven Craven. As the whole plot takes place at a High School of Performing Arts in the USA, practically everybody acts, dances and sings. You can find a lot of contemporary youth problems there – from love, rebellion and the strain of success to drugs, early death and leaving school. As the saying goes: “Life itself will settle everything!”
The producers of the musical need to be congratulated. Let’s finish off with one of Aneta Majerová’s mottos: “We all need to fight for ourselves. No-one else can do this pirouette for us!” They all worked with enthusiasm and at full tilt. And thanks to this, FAME has really come off.
A journey to Fame from Holland to Brno
Radmila Hrdinová 13. November 2007 zdroj Divadelní noviny
Brno City Theatre has yet again overtaken its Prague competition by several horse lengths in the imaginary race to go international with their musical offerings - the performance of Fame bears all the hallmarks of high professionalism with a bonus of spontaneous energy and enthusiasm, spread lavishly by the whole cast from the stage during this nearly three-hour-long performance.
The birth of the musical Fame arose from the transmutation of the successful film (1980) into a popular TV show (1982 – 1987) and then into a completely new theatre version. All are connected only by the author of the plot, David De Silva. Fame follows a group of students at a New York High School of Performing Arts during the years 1980 – 1984, from their acceptance at the school until their graduation. In the acting, dance and music classes, professional and emotional relationships unfold, affected by racial and social differences, temperaments, life and artistic experience and mainly the students’ perseverance on their hard “road to fame”. The stories, which gently move with the life stories of the students up to their nostalgic departure from the school ‘nest’ into the wild-flowing current of their artistic careers, are not particularly complicated and are quite predictable and memorable due to the environment. In fact, it is like a more international version of Josefína. The musical language of Fame offers a wide range of genres from gospel to rock-and-roll, and will be enjoyed by both lovers of lyrical, emotional songs and of musical pieces full of passion.
Fame is a collective dance musical, similar in type to A Chorus Line, in which emotions and thoughts are conveyed mainly during the dancing and singing parts, ranging from classical ballet to freestyle dance in the streets of New York. The Croatian choreographer, Igor Barberić, handled this challenge well, and for each of the numbers created a corresponding dance language and dynamic, collective choreography which expresses the energy of motion and the emotions of a group of young students.
The director and manager of Brno City Theatre, Stanislav Moša, first staged Fame (like West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) with an international cast and an international tour. The premiere took place in Nijmegen in Holland in March last year and during the two-month tour, the performance took place thirty times in eight Dutch towns. The spectators, as well as the critics, were full of praise. Now, Moša has prepared this work with a new cast (with only one exception) for Brno City Theatre. It is performed in English (with Czech subtitles by Michael Prostějovský) because the actors are mainly English, with the exception of two Czech dancers, two Germans, one American and one Dutch actor. All of them successfully absolved a demanding casting process which had four hundred participants, and have experience in musical performances at the West End in London or at other European theatres. They are not far from the real age of the characters they play, as they were born around the mid-eighties, and only the four teachers are ten years older.
The performance takes place on a simple stage which evokes the atrium of an old school building with galleries and staircases; simple props (ballet wall, stage, percussion instruments) symbolize the individual classes. The costumes are not very different from today’s fashions where anything goes, so younger members of the audience have no problems identifying with the young people on the stage. The dance choreography is supported by the use of rhythmic lighting.
Fame is based on collective performance, but despite this, the characters have their own individuality in everyday situations, and they all sing or dance excellently. The impression from this professional performance, which shows the actors’ maximum talent and ability, is that Brno’s Fame is a few classes above the whole domestic musical scene, and confirms again that Moša is a pike amongst the carp in the domestic musical pond.
Until mid-November, twenty performances will be shown in Brno and afterwards, another European tour is expecting Fame. Undoubtedly, it will be successful again.
Radmila Hrdinová, Divadelní noviny, 13. 11. 2007
Masters of their art!
Tomáš Hejzlar 13. November 2007 zdroj Haló noviny
As if carried to us on a balmy breeze from Broadway, the musical FAME arrived at Brno City Theatre (MdB) – unfortunately staying for less than three weeks.
Those who still can’t believe the exceptional reviews simply must after seeing it. And those who even after seeing this production still don’t want to believe will have to probe their own consciousness to see if they want to experience anything at all – and if they have even the basic ability to make objective judgements.
As far as the dancing goes, FAME is a mixture of Broadway musical dance styles with modern, yet classic dance and typical street dancing. The types of dance are as varied as the characters, who come from different parts of New York.
This great experience, which we can now enjoy under the direction of the Czech, or more exactly Moravian director Stanislav Moša, exceeded all expectations. It was comparable to what are known as the musical classics, its final version displaying an unquestionable professionalism that is typical for example of productions in Budapest, London or Vienna, but particularly of famous American Broadway (so definitely not of Prague!). True, I’ve only seen most of these foreign productions on video, but this is maybe exactly what fascinated me so much about what we’ve been able to see at Brno’s new Music Theatre over the last few days.
In cooperation with choreographer Igor Barberić, who played a significant part in bringing this excellent project to fruition, but also with conductor Karel Albrecht and others, they have really managed to stir the often so very stagnant waters of our domestic musical scene, muddied with all kinds of artistically imperfect kitsch, in which not only our pop stars but also just about any writer seem to revel, and either through ignorance or perhaps even financial reasons write their celebratory odes even after all ends in debacle - even in connection with substandard productions and still worse performances.
Even unusually experienced reviewers, such as for example Jiří P. Kříž of Právo and others, simply had to bow down not only before this perfectly constructed (technically great and full of feeling) Brno production, but especially before the ever-present burning enthusiasm that we could feel radiating from every bar, every movement.
The Brno version of the representation of an almost religiously proper road to fame (it has slight echoes of the thematically similar, classic film Předehra ke slávě o talentovaném dítěti a později slavném dirigentovi Robertu Benzim – Prologue to the Fame of a Talented Child, and Later the Famous Conductor Robert Benzi!) has, you see, employed real stars of the musical genre. It doesn’t try – as more than one Prague musical production does – to simply pretend. Their perfect, precisely - elaborated expressions are basically proof that in our current situation we can present even a musical on a level comparable with those abroad. As long as it’s not just about business, or rather showbusiness, but about the effort to reach further and higher.
From all those taking part in the casting sessions, almost five hundred people, less than thirty of the best appeared at Brno’s MdB Music Theatre – in other words, only the best of the chosen foreign actors, singers and dancers that survived the highly competitive auditioning process.
Hopefully now the experienced critic Kříž from our competitor Pravo won’t be angry if, without his permission, I conclude with one of his sentences which I not only give you in full, but which I also had in my mind – perhaps only with different wording – throughout the whole performance. It was: “Moša’s musicals are comparable to those of Broadway and the West End. Brno remains largely oblivious.” I would just add: “And Prague certainly wants to remain oblivious!”
The theatre version of the musical had its first performance in Miami in 1988. One year later it was introduced to the public in Philadelphia, where it was a box-office hit. Thanks to its reputation it found an investor in the New York publishing house Music Theatre International, which made the title available to the whole world - in 1993 the European premiere took place in Stockholm. In London alone, the musical was performed by four theatres one after another to almost four million spectators.
The road to fame begins in Brno
Jiří Renč 3. November 2007 zdroj TV Magazín
Brno has a second hit: Currently, Brno City Theatre is performing the famous American dance musical ‘FAME’, directed by Stanislav Moša. Not only was a very successful film born in the year 1980 but also a world-wide phenomenon. Director and producer Alan Parker’s look at the everyday lives of the students at a New York secondary school of performing arts immediately became a sensation. You will see 25 hand-picked foreign actors, singers and dancers chosen from a total of over 450 casting session participants and experience the full stage version of the original English-language musical.
New York - Broadway – Brno – Brno City Theatre
Jiří P. Kříž 31. October 2007 zdroj Právo
Young dancers from all over half of Europe hit the Brno music stage like a hurricane in search of their way to fame.
Brno City Theatre is showing a unique musical, ‘FAME’, before the company takes it on a tour of Europe.
The spectators expressed their opinion on the excellent experience served to them by the director Stanislav Moša, choreographer Igor Barberić and musician and conductor Karel Albrecht, by an endless standing ovation. The actors came from a London casting session, so perhaps I should have written London – West End – Brno…?
Everything that the dancers, singers and actors perform with bravura on the stage here actually takes place at the New York School of Performing Arts on 42nd Street, at the top part of Broadway since 1984, right next to the Lincoln Centre.
The journey to popularity
The story is simple: It is about the study of dance, singing, music and acting – the most difficult professions in the world, as is sung in the introductory song. And, the difficult years leading to the graduation exam. Talent, the first failures, love, hard work, the lures of show business, drugs… simply, the road to fame.
A successful film (1980), TV show (1982), then theatre performance: Miami (1988), Philadelphia, Stockholm, London, Nijmegen. This Dutch performance shines with the names Moša, Barberić, Albrecht. Their ‘FAME’ has conquered The Hague, Amsterdam...
Spectators will be impressed particularly by the performance of the actors. Aside from the school teachers (whose age is around 30), they were born mainly in the mid-eighties. Laura Wilson, who plays Mabel Washington and gained success for her solo piece, was born in 1987. Michael Kent and Cassie MacMillan are even younger, by a year.
The stars of ‘FAME’
‘FAME’ has its stars: Djalenga Scott in the role of unhappy Carmen Diaz,, Sean Selby, very skilled in movement, who plays the controversial Tyrone Jackson, Olivia Fines embodying the graceful dancer Iris Kelly, Suzanne Lowe (Grace Lamb), Andrew Mathys (the role of violinist Schlomo)...
Moša’s musicals are comparable with those of Broadway and the West End. Brno remains mainly oblivious.