Fame has added a few more notches to its nine-lives reputation with an extension to its West End run and, simultaneously, a new UK-wide tour in 2002. The musical, inspired by the film and TV series of the same name, is currently running in the West End at the Cambridge Theatre, where it has extended its run to 31 August 2002. Meanwhile, a fresh touring production launches at Brighton’s Theatre Royal on 28 January 2002, before continuing to another 20 cities up to July 2002, when further dates will be announced.

The Runar Borge production 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 to the West End in 1998 for a run at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Its current 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. In between West End engagements, Fame has been touring the country virtually non-stop.

Set over four years, Fame takes audiences through the daily highs and lows, the romances and sheer hard work faced by the star-struck pupils of New York's legendary High School for the Performing Arts. The stage show is inspired by Alan Parker's 1980 Oscar-winning film of the same name, as well as the popular American television spin-off, which ran for six seasons and was aired in 68 countries worldwide.

The original High School for the Performing Arts boasts an impressive list of graduates, including Liza Minnelli, Al Pacino, Suzanne Vega and Jerome Robbins. Its success has made it a model for a number of arts schools in Britain, including the Liverpool School for the Performing Arts founded by Paul McCartney. And the musical has inspired no end of crazes for leg-warmers and dancing on yellow taxis!

Conceived by David De Silva, Fame has music by Steve Margoshes, lyrics by Jacques Levy and a book by Jose Fernandez. Both the West End and touring productions are directed by Karen Bruce and feature casts of over 30 young performers.

Following Brighton, the touring production will visit Woking, Stoke-on-Trent, Norwich, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Richmond, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Plymouth, York, Southampton, Reading, Bristol, Belfast, Blackpool, Bradford, Jersey and Bromley.

Terri Paddock