Fame - the Musical returned to London last night (8 May 2007, previews from 4 May) opening at the Shaftesbury Theatre, its fifth West End home, for a limited summer season to 1 September 2007.

Based on Alan Parker's 1980 Oscar-winning film and the American TV series of the same name, Fame follows a group of students from New York’s School for the Performing Arts through the highs, lows, friendships, romances and hard work necessary in their quest for success.

Runar Borge’s original stage production, newly directed and re-staged by Karen Bruce, has been freshened up with a new set, new costumes and a brand new cast led by Ian Watkins (aka ‘H’ from Steps and seen on TV earlier this year in Celebrity Big Brother) and Two Pints of Lager’s Natalie Casey as acting students, and love interests, Nick Piazza and Serena Katz.

Watkins and Casey’s fellow principals in the 30-strong cast include: George Maguire (as Joe Vegas), Natalie Kennedy (Carmen Diaz), Desi Valentine (Tyrone Jackson), Fem Belling (Mabel Washington), Danielle Cato (Iris Kelly), Matthew Thomas (Schlomo Metzenbaum), Kevin McGuire (Goodman King), Natalie Hope (Grace Lamb), Jacqui Dubois (Miss Sherman) and Emma Francis (Miss Bell).

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE FAME 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the curtain call at the Shaftesbury Theatre and for the post-show party at the Langley Bar along with the cast and other first night guests including Caprice, Tony Blackburn, Melinda Messenger, Janie Dee and Any Dream Will Do’s Chris Barton.

Fame first opened in the West End at the Cambridge Theatre in 1995, when it was nominated for two Laurence Olivier Awards for Best New Musical and Best Choreography. It returned in 1998 for a run at the Prince of Wales Theatre. The musical's last West End run began in October 2000 at the Victoria Palace (its second outing at that venue, where it also played in 1997) before transferring back to the Cambridge in September 2001 and then in 2002 to the Aldwych where it closed last April to make way for Dirty Dancing (See News, 24 Feb 2006). Its new West End season is produced by Stage Entertainment.

-by Terri Paddock