Phoenix Theatrics has the perfect production to coincide with its big milestone anniversary.
On Saturday, Phoenix Performing Arts Centre will begin a three-weekend run of “Fame: The Musical” in honor of its 10th year in business. The show will run May 12 to 26 at the theater, 409 Main St., Duryea, with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the theater at 570-457-3589. For more information, visit phoenixpac.vpweb.com.
The anniversary comes at a great time, given Phoenix is also celebrating the recent renovation of the theater by members of Leadership Wilkes-Barre for their Phoenix Rising project. Thanks to the group, the theater now has a new stage, increased seating with higher platforms for better viewing, freshly painted walls, new carpeting and furniture in the lobby, and enhancements to the exterior of the building.
“We’ve increased our seating by about 40 to 45 seats. Now, we won’t have to turn audience members away because we can’t fit them,” said Phoenix artistic director Lee LaChette. “We are super excited about this. It helps the future of the theater by allowing us to keep maintaining our growth.”
Phoenix first opened its doors in 2008, but exclusively staged straight plays until obtaining the licensing for “Fame” in 2011.
“‘Fame’ was our very first big musical. Now, seven years later, we’re bringing it back,” LaChette said.
“It’s a fun one. There’s a lot of great dancing, a lot of great singing. It’s funny. And it’s a show that the kids can relate to.”
“Fame: The Musical” is based on the 1980 film and ’80s television show of the same name, adapted for the stage with an almost completely new score.
For the uninitiated, the show’s plot revolves around several students who attend New York City’s High School of Performing Arts. They include: fame-obsessed Carmen (played in the show by Sarah Neel); ambitious actress Serena (Brooke Taylor); wisecracking comedian/bad boy Joe (Hope Kamin); quiet violinist Schlomo (Abby Pecha); talented but dyslexic dancer Tyrone (Joey Morales); determined actor Nick (Jonathan Lantz); overweight dancer Mabel (Kat O’Boyle); and poor dancer Iris (Jaidin Broody-Walega).
“It was very easy for them to find their character, because it’s pretty much themselves,” said LaChette, noting the show has 22 parts in total, with all cast members between the ages of 14 and 18.
The show features a number of catchy and compelling songs, among them the title number, as well as “Dancin’ on the Sidewalk,” “Bring on Tomorrow,” “Mabel’s Prayer,” and the 12-minute opening number, “Hard Work.” Meanwhile, the stage design is set up to resemble a classroom, and includes instruments played live by a full band.
LaChette is the show’s director-choreographer, Jenn Johnson-Hamer and Jackie Legg are musical director and Amanda Hunisch is assistant choreographer.
Given its themes, and its relevance to Phoenix’s history, the show will no doubt make for the perfect capper to the theater’s first decade of existence.
“The second time around,” LaChette said, “it’ll be bigger and better.”
If you go What: “Fame: The Musical,” presented by Phoenix Theatrics
When: May 12 - 26 (three weekends), with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Where: Phoenix Performing Arts Centre, 409 Main St., Duryea
Details: Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 570-457-3589. For more information, visit phoenixpac.vpweb.com.