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Set during the last years of New York City’s celebrated high school for the performing arts, the show, which runs from Feb. 14 —16, tells the inspiring story of a diverse group of students following their dreams. Based on the 1980 film and subsequent television series, “Fame — The Musical,” not only showcases the extraordinary talent of the students but also explores issues confronting many young people today: issues of prejudice, identity, self-worth, literacy, sexuality, substance abuse and perseverance.
“This show really makes sense for our students,” said co-director and theater instructor Becky Potter, “The kids are these characters already, They really are telling their own stories.”, According to Potter, “Fame” was the perfect choice for OSA, a nationally recognized public charter school housed in Oakland’s historic Fox Theater, “We looked at other shows, but this one just made a lot of sense, It really speaks to everyone,” she said, Potter co-directs the immense undertaking with women's smooth ballroom dance shoes Matthew Travisano, vocal director Branice McKenzie, music director John Kendall Bailey and choreographer Reginald Ray-Savage..
“This is truly a troupe collaboration. We have middle and high school students from eight different OSA Schools of Art collaborating together,” Potter said. “They are all artists in different ways, but they are also so accepting and respectful of each other. It’s really a neat atmosphere to be around where so many kids thrive.”. Potter recalled a recent five-hour rehearsal that she terms “amazing” and said: “I was literally brought to tears twice. “These dancers were doing a beautiful pas de deux that was mind boggling, and then we had vocalists rocking it till they gave me chills,” she said. “It’s just so cool to have the instrumental department create this amazing orchestra and Matthew, my co-director, gets these wonderful performances from the actors. It’s really exciting to see all the parts of the school come together like this.”.
Adding their own unique talents to the mix, costume designer Linda women's smooth ballroom dance shoes Ricciardi incorporates OSA’s school colors into her costume design while production/technical director Jean-Francois Revon and his students customize the scenic and lighting design, “It’s really OSA’s take on the musical,” Potter said, “We’re true to the script while personalizing it for our students and community, It’s sort of like a window into life at OSA.”, While some of the performers play characters similar to themselves, others look to OSA faculty members for inspiration..
“One student who plays a dance teacher is, of course, a dancer herself,” Potter said. “But she’s also added a lot of our choreographer’s qualities to her interpretation of her character. For instance, Reggie has a walking stick so she’s added that to her character, and she even carries it the way he does.”. Although OSA is housed in the historic Fox Theater and the buildings surrounding it, “Fame — The Musical” takes place in another historic Oakland venue — the Scottish Rite Auditorium.
Filipino poet Lourdes Costales reminded the gathering of Rudge’s compassion for the suffering of women throughout history through her reading of Rudge’s poem, “Blessing”: “May everyplace you look stones become bread, may mangos and papayas and pineapples fall into your hands, may you feed the hungry and give them flowers … may children of all people be your children and all people be your family … “, Costales also read about Rudge’s ability to see beauty in everything from Rudge’s poem, “This Is the Day”: “Oh you iridescent butterfly-winged day, Oh you day beyond dawn mist, beyond comet and women's smooth ballroom dance shoes night calling creatures and those who even by rubbing their legs make rhythmic notes … Oh silk and bamboo day of stringed song where colors breathed from all this fragrance pulsate in the brain on a day of dazzle of leaves, of whirling molecules that dance right through our dance …”..
Charles Lopez Sr. turned one of Mary Rudge’s poems into song and sang a capella for her family. Noted beat poet Jimmy V. Lyons, a family friend and collaborator with Rudge, summed up her compassionate, poetic and artistic vision. “Mary was the all in the sum of parts, in inventiveness both subtle and replete,” he said. “Hearing her once dispelled all doubts of her conciliatory affinity for the human condition. In her final posture, she let her body go, and it flowed out of her like a luminous bird in flight, to the unwritten score now cradled in beatific harmony, to reside in the illumination of our souls.”.
The memorial Mass, held women's smooth ballroom dance shoes at St, Barnabas Church on Jan, 29, was filled with Rudge’s favorite hymns, such as “On Eagle’s Wings” and “Morning Has Broken.”, Father Dana P, Michaels presided over the Mass, and Rudge’s collaborator, Natica Angilly of Artists Embassy International, gave the first reading, The second reading was presented by poet Amy Estrada, The eulogy, read by Marjorie Lynne Wagner, was from Rudge’s poem, “Butterfly” and summed up the Mass: “And in the rite of passage, leaving the flower of the world in full bloom beyond decay, released to sky, even we, transformed, leap from a body’s spun threads to butterfly flight.”..