The talented performers at Aldrich Junior High School are out to prove “they’re gonna live forever” when they take to the stage to perform the musical, “Fame Jr.” Thursday, March 27 and Friday, March 28. Both shows start at 7 p.m.
“Fame Jr.” follows the story of several students at New York City’s High School of Performing Arts through their four years at school. The film and musical “Fame” inspired the youth-version, but director Nick Peladeau explained there are some differences.
“It’s an easier version for junior high students,” said Peladeau, who is a senior at Pilgrim High School. “The movie is different and the musical is different as well.”
But those familiar with the movie and the musical will recognize some things, including the show’s most iconic song, “Fame.”
“It’s familiar with some things but different than most people will think,” said Peladeau.
So how did a group of junior high students from 2014 end up performing a musical inspired by a movie from the 1980s? Well, this year’s production was director’s choice.
“‘Fame’ has always been one of my favorites,” said Peladeau. So when he learned the production would be director’s choice, he knew exactly what he would pick.
Peladeau has assisted with Aldrich productions for the past four years in various capacities, but this is his first year as head director.
“I’ve done the full drama experience,” he said, with jobs ranging from set design to running the music to directing.
Of course, he has also performed. The first time Aldrich staged a musical was when Peladeau was in the eighth grade; he was a part of the cast of the school’s production of “Annie.”
He admits it was not something he thought he would like; it was his first time involved with drama. But that quickly changed.
“It’s crazy to think now I’m here, directing,” said Peladeau.
Peladeau and the students, along with a dedicated group of Aldrich teachers and staff, have been preparing for the production since October. Peladeau admits between October and closing curtain, his life consists of schoolwork (he’s in all honors classes) and the play.
Although it may take up some of his study time, not to mention free time, Peladeau says he loves getting to go to Aldrich and working with the students on their production. It is also good practice for him.
“I want to become a teacher, so this is good for me,” he said.
But he doesn’t want to become a drama teacher like most people think; he hopes to become an art teacher. After graduation, Peladeau has plans to attend either New Hampshire Institute of Art or Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
But all eyes will be on the talented group of performers on stage next week for “Fame Jr.” at Aldrich. The show’s lead performers include Sophia Latorella (acting teacher Mr. Myers), Sophia Carter (English teacher Ms. Sherman), Rachel Goding (dance teacher Ms. Bell), Jonathan Polland (music teacher Mr. Sheinkopf), Ja’mon van Heyningen (Nick), Taylor Conner (Serena), Daniel Goudis (Joe), Haley Marchetti (Mabel), Amanda Gelinas (Carmen), Sydney Perez (Iris), Renzel Greene (Tyrone), Victoria Matthews (Lambchops), Rahzel Canacho (Schlomo) and Jacob Boblitt (Goody).
Tickets for both performances are $5 and will be sold at the door.