|Denise (Naturi Naughton) performs “Get on the Floor” in a remake of 1980′s “Fame.”|
As I drove away from a Chicago screening of Kevin Tancharoen’s “Fame” Wednesday night, I turned on 100.3 FM on the car radio and guess what I heard?
Irene Cara belting out the title song to the original 1980 hit musical “Fame.”
In that moment, I realized Cara packed more passion and talent into a single song than Tancharoen could squeeze into an entire shallow, vacuous remake.
His “Fame” uses the same plot and character types as Alan Parker’s original film, except that Tancharoen blunts Parker’s pain and realism, diminishes the drama’s heart by at least two sizes, and steps all over the cast’s sheer joy of performing.
The showcase scene from Parker’s “Fame” was an impromptu “concert” performed by students at the (then) New York Academy for Performing Arts. Every student in the school spontaneously breaks into a jubilant musical number, with dancers and musicians merging in a joyful celebration that spills into New York streets, snarling traffic, yet delighting everyone.
In Tancharoen’s “Fame,” a keyboardist, drummer and dancers start groovin’, but the scene fizzles out and shifts over to a couple of characters who could use a few lessons from their acting teacher Mr. Dowd (Charles S. Dutton). (Read more…)