Who knew, when Irene Cara first belted out "Fame! I'm gonna live forever," that her words would be so prophetic? Fame, the 1980 movie about a performing-arts high school, spawned the Emmy-winning TV show of the same name. Then its soundtrack was reissued earlier this year. Then it was resurrected as an NBC reality show. Fame -- The Musical will be coming to town for a pair of shows. At this rate, it really is gonna live forever.
"It's about the same issues [as the film]," says Anthony Wayne, who plays Tyrone in the stage version. "But it coincides with the way times are now, as opposed to how they were in the '80s. The names are different, but the same points are made."
The show's plot hasn't changed: A group of students at New York's High School of the Performing Arts spend four years sweating, crying, and working their asses off. Along the way, they face personal, racial, and economic hurdles. "This is so real," Wayne says. "You can't do just one thing anymore. You have to dance, sing, and act."
The 22-year-old recently graduated from the Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia, experiencing hardships like Tyrone's along the way. "I wanted to expand a lot of the things I went through personally," he says. "I'm working everything I've been trained to do into this show."
There's a little bit of Fame's characters in all of us, he says. That's why the movie, the TV shows, the songs, and the musical continue to resonate with audiences. "Everybody has a quest for fame," Wayne says. "And when people see this musical, they see what we went through as actors and musicians to really make it in this field. People want to see the trials and tribulations.
"Everybody has the ambition and the drive to want to be famous. Everybody wants their 15 minutes."