Energetic ride at Marriotts Ridge

Several striking performances carry production of `Fame'

Review

March 30, 2007|By Gabe Fremuth | Gabe Fremuth,special to the sun

You wanna make magic? You'd better consult the drama department at Marriotts Ridge High School, which last week performed the musical Fame, an energetic ride through the halls of the New York School of the Performing Arts in the early 1980s.

"I hope I make P.A." comes the rousing cry, and from there, accepted students scramble to meet instructors. The two acts follow a class's progression from freshman to senior year, as friendships and relationships build and fall apart and the kids struggle to succeed in realms where everyone wants to "live forever."

While Fame emphasizes the ensemble, certain characters are given a chance to shine, notably English teacher Miss Sherman (played by Stephanie Lee) and dance tutor Greta Bell (played by Abby Schwarz). Their duet, "The Teachers' Argument," about students' potential, was a show-stopper, showcasing both actresses' impressive vocals while humanizing the two teachers.

Another striking performance was given by Colleen Clancy as Carmen Diaz, the show's protagonist, a girl driven by her obsession with, and pursuit of, fame, which ultimately leads to her downfall. Never did Clancy spend a moment onstage without pushing Carmen to her limits. She made the show's finale reprise of "Fame" soar.

Her support came in the form of Mabel Washington (played by Kelly Harrigan), Carmen's weight-obsessed friend. Her comedy was never mistimed, even when surrounded by M&Ms, which she professes to love in "Mabel's Prayer."

The production did have some technical trouble with sound. Perhaps because of the orchestra, the actors were not audible enough. This made the microphones crucial. Unfortunately, many either sputtered or died during the show. In addition, the ensemble's ad-libbing, while appropriate and in character, often overlapped scripted lines or lyrics.

For its first musical, Marriotts Ridge boasted a respectable range of vocal talent and had solid performances from much of its cast. Fame was an undeniable success.

Gabe Fremuth, a student at River Hill High School, reviewed "Fame" for the Cappies of Baltimore, a program in which students review high school productions under the direction of their teachers and vote on awards for outstanding performances.

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