Remember their names – 'Fame: The Musical' comes to PYA

Staff reports
The Chronicle-Express

Discover what it takes to “live forever” this weekend as the Penn Yan Academy Drama Club presents "Fame: The Musical"

Discover what it takes to “live forever” this weekend, May 6-9 as the Penn Yan Academy Drama Club presents "Fame: The Musical."

PENN YAN – "Fame: The Musical" follows the final graduating class of dancers, actors, and musicians through their four years at New York City’s prestigious School for the Performing Arts, known as the “Fame School” after being featured in the hit 1980 film "Fame."

While the musical does not directly follow the plot of the film, audiences will have the opportunity to meet an eclectic cast of new characters, all of whom are doing the hard work necessary to perfect their art and find their own measure of success in their

chosen field. Throughout their years at “P.A.,” it becomes clear to each of them what it is going to take to really make it.

For Nick Piazza (sophomore John Shaw), Serena Katz (sophomore Emmaleigh Stempien), and Joe Vegas (junior Massan Jensen), it means digging into what it really means to be an actor, how to inhabit a character, and how to connect emotionally with their audiences. 

For Jack Zakowski (sophomore Garrett Hilton), Iris Kelly (freshman Addyson Webber), and Mabel Wahington (senior Riley Dallos), it means perfecting their dance techniques and escaping the elements of their upbringing that hold them back. 

For Goodman “Goody” King (senior Lee Miller), Grace “Lambchops” Lamb (sophomore Sophia Smith), and Schlomo Metzenbaum (sophomore Joseph Droney), it means finding their own sound, making the music they want to make, and, in Schlomo’s case, escaping from the shadow of his virtuoso father. 

As for Carmen Diaz (junior Jayden Hollister), a triple threat dancer, actor, and singer, finding fame means escaping her demons and doing whatever it takes to see her name in lights someday. 

These characters are surrounded by a powerful vocal and dance ensemble of other students at “P.A.” including Morgan Andersen, Samantha Denson, Arya Dillon, Emma Eichenhofer, Dayton Gulick, Meredith Hanley, Cadence Hinkal, Amelia LeVea, Vanessa Martinez, Madeline Martini, Lenitza Ochoa, Gale Paddock, Alyssa Reynolds, Braxton Smith, Sophia Smith, Zachary Smith, Samantha Trank, and Kyle Wheeler. They are also helped along on their journey by their teachers: Miss Sherman (director and PYA theatre/drama teacher Jessica Kinsey), Mr. Myers (assistant director and PYA English teacher Brian Cobb), Ms. Bell (choreographer Elizabeth Jensen), and Mr. Sheinkopf (production assistant and men’s vocal coach Stanley Weaver).

"Fame: The Musical," directed by PYA Choir and Theatre teacher Jessica Kinsey and stage managed by senior Casey Marcellus, will run Thursday, May 6 through Sunday, May 9 in the Penn Yan Academy Auditorium. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday shows will begin at 7 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Due to current COVID restrictions, the show will be primarily livestreamed online to paid ticketholders. Visit the Drama Club’s webpage at to purchase tickets ($15 for the stream). A limited number of in-person tickets may also be available ($10 for students/seniors, $12 for other adults), though in-person tickets will be prioritized for guests of cast and crew. Keep an eye on the club’s social media and website for any potential in-person tickets - the Drama Club will post them if we have any spaces left each night. 

All of the PYA Drama Club’s productions are entirely self-sufficient and financed by its ticket sales and community donations.