Expect to laugh, cry and be up on your feet dancing at the end – that is the message from two of the stars of Fame The Musical which comes to Peterborough at the end of November.
It is the story of a group of talented youngsters at the New York High School For The Performing Arts, made famous in the early 1980s when the TV version of Fame became a worldwide success.
However, this musical – which has been around for 30 years – is not quite as light-hearted as the iconic small screen version, known for its impromptu singing and dancing scenes, explains Keith Jack, who plays acting student Nick Piazza.
“It is a much grittier version,” says Keith, who watched the originals, and the two big screen Fame films, later in life to get an idea what it was like prior to joining this show 18 months ago.
“The TV show was a little more light-hearted whereas in the musical we are dealing more with some very important life issues such as racism, dyslexia, drug abuse.
“ I think it is more relevant now than when the show started,” he says. “Nowadays everyone is very open and talking about these things.
“It is a heart-felt production that toys with the emotions. It is full-on – you will laugh and cry, but everyone will be up dancing at the end.”
Keith’s character, Nick, is an acting student looking to move on with his life and prove himself, something Keith associates with.
“Nick found fame as a kid but wants to hone his craft and be taken seriously as a straight actor.
“My story is about relationships. Nick meets Serena when they act together and he pushes her away. He is very straight laced and knows what he wants, but he is not sure about her and she becomes a spanner in the works.
“It is a really great role, my first all-round complete musical role with my first main love interest where I get to sing, dance and act.”
Keith, who found fame in the talent search show Any Dream Will Do, and went on to play the lead in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, adds: “It means so much to me as I came out of a TV show and wanted to be accepted and looked at differently, a real actor.”
Jorgie Porter found fame in Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, raising her profile with successful appearances on I’m A Celebrity and Dancing on Ice before landing the role of Iris Kelly, a ballerina, in the show which comes to Peterborough New Theatre from November 25 to 30.
And she loves the role that has made a childhood dream come true.
She says: “I grew going to dance classes in community halls and places like that and my dream as a kid was to dance on a West End stage. Fame has allowed me to do that – I love this part as I get to dance every night.
“And I relate to what people remember of the TV show with people just getting up and singing and dancing. I went to dance college from 16 to 18 and every day people would be grabbing an instrument to play, or reciting lines or doing dance moves.”
Jorgie also sees the relevance in today’s society of the issues the show tackles.
“My character has a love interest with Tyrone Jackson, which highlights racial issues, but there are some really deep issues such as drugs and homophobia tackled too,” she says. “It is very important we talk about these things.”
Jorgie also hopes the audience will identify with Iris.
“Iris is a young but cocky character who likes to make out she is rich and well to do, but it comes out eventually that she is pretending to be something that she is not, because she is scared and insecure.
“And that is a massive problem now with social media and Instagram – young girls think they have to look like a model or dress a certain way. Being yourself – different – is the best way to be, and don’t worry about what other people think.”
Tickets are on sale at www.newtheatre-peterborough.com.