Springfield Arts Council Youth Arts Ambassadors rehearse a number from the upcoming production of “Fame Jr.” CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY BRETT TURNER

‘Fame Jr.’ to light up the John Legend Theater

Think of “Fame Jr.” as a talent show in the form of a musical.

The musical, based on the famed 1980s film and television series “Fame” about kids discovering themselves while training at a performing-arts school, will show off the talents of local youngsters.

“We have a lot of everything in this show – singing, piano, violin, trumpet,” director Krissy Hartman said.

The Springfield Arts Council’s Youth Arts Ambassadors will present “Fame Jr.” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 and Friday, Nov. 3 at the John Legend Theater.

Most previous Ambassadors shows have been fantasies and Disney musicals. The group discussed doing something more aligned with age-related problems they face, according to Hartman. She admitted such titles were limited, but “Fame Jr.” stood out.

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“This show is aimed at the performances; this is the focus, not fancy sets, costumes or lighting,” Hartman said. “It’s about what kids are like at a performing arts school. They’re familiar with hearing coaching stories. The choreography and music here are way harder and we’ll be showcasing some hidden talents.”

Ian Williams, a Northeastern High School sophomore, is excited to step into the character of Nick.

“Nick is serious about theater but he can be a jerk,” Williams said. “Nick acts like he’s already almost a professional. Why has he come to this?”

Vanessa Hagenbuch is in fifth grade at Northridge Elementary School and will play the outgoing Mabel. She uses her theater skills in life.

“I’m a logical person and it helps me when meeting different people,” she said.

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Although this is a story about youngsters at a performing-arts school, the Ambassadors are also close.

“I’m sad when we don’t have practice and that’s why I like this show. It’s something different,” Hagenbuch said.

Williams agrees this is a talented group.

“It’s a good thing to be involved in the arts,” he said. “Coming here (for practice) is the highlight of my day.”

The Youth Arts Ambassadors’ next production will be another fantasy musical, “Dorothy Meets Alice,” Feb. 23-24 at the Legend Theater.

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