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U. City On Stage: The Spring Musical "Fame" (1986) & People From The School Based On The Show & "The Wiz" (1985) (2 VIDEOS)

We've had a lot of coincidences in just the past couple of days as it relates to this project.  A lot of good and fun coincidences. TriBeCa Drive-In f. "Fame"A friend of the project and New York City native, Tanya Robinson, invited us to sit outside at the TriBeCa Film Festival to watch a screening of the movie "Fame" at the "TriBeCa Drive-In" section of the festival at the World Finance Center (in the shadow of the new World Trade Center main building taking shape).

We knew that Tanya was an enthusiast about the festival, but we didn't know that Tanya had a particular reason to be enthusiastic about seeing "Fame" at the festival.  It turns out that Tanya attended the LaGuardia School for Music and Arts High School, the very school that "Fame" was based on and where a great deal of the movie was filmed.  Who knew...?  It also turned out that Tanya arranged to have some other alumni members come down (many of whom were in the movie), get VIP seating, and get on stage to be acknowledged.  Very fun.

We got to sit with the group in the freezing, windy weather in New York harbor in the front row to screen the film.  Before things got started, we got to talk to the nice bunch a little bit about their school.  They all had very fond memories of the place and were extremely proud to have gone there.

They asked where we went to school, and we told them a bit about U. City.  We let them know that our public school (not designated as a "music and arts" school) reminded us a lot of the movie "Fame".  And as a matter of fact, we put on a musical "Fame" back in 1986.  They were shocked to hear that.  "How do you put on a musical version of Fame?  That hasn't been done."

Well...we did that...

That was just one of the songs from the first staging of a musical version of Fame.  The LaGuardia bunch thought that was cool.  We asked if we could interview some of them some time as a nice parallel to the U. City arts experience, and some said they'd be happy to do it.  We'll set that up later and let you know about the results.

In that clip above were Randy Carter, George Wright, Amy (Fisher) Abeyta and Emily Bruder singing (among others...any help with other names will be GREATLY appreciated).  The only person that wasn't singing was the piano player, the role of Bruno Martelli, Chris Edmonds.  We'd forgotten that Chris was in that musical and so we didn't put together that Chris was going to be the next subject of an interview for the project the next day in New York since he happened to be in town from his place of residence for many years, Kingston, Jamaica.Chris Edmonds & Greg Echols

We met up with Chris the next afternoon at the bar/restaurant of another U. Citian in NYC, Stephanie Schneider.  She's owned Huckleberry Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a bit over 3 years now and her brother, Aaron Schneider, did most of the construction.  Steph had let us shoot 2 other interviews in off hours at her place and Chris would be the third.  During the course of the interview about Chris and his current work as a DJ and music producer, he let us know that the only musical that he was in was "Fame". He said that he was cool with taking the role of Bruno since he wouldn't have to sing.  The singing talent on stage with him would have been too much...especially Randy Carter.

With that, the string of coincidences continued because just before we took off to head to the shoot with Chris, a long anticipated delivery of a VHS tape had shown up at the studio.  That tape was of the high school's 1985 verision of "The Wiz" where Randy Carter (the Tin Man) and the other dancers brought down the house each night with the performance of "Slide Some Oil To Me"...

Well that was too much for us, but it's the way that the project has been going so far.  One person will mention something about another one that we just finished talking about and so on, and so on, and so on... We really look forward to where this string of coincidences is going to end up.  Our whole hypothesis is that the string of artistic connections can be traced back to the beginning of the city in 1906 and beyond.  And so far, nothing has happened to knock us off that track.

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