Fame is quite the tale. Almost 40 years on from when it premiered in cinemas, it is still one of the more memorable movies from a vintage decade for cinema that was the 1980s. And the stage version is about to come to Liverpool’s Empire Theatre with a star-studded cast. We spoke to one of the key players, Keith Jack, about his role in Fame and his experienced in theatre to date, as well as his thoughts on future aspirations!
First of all, tell us about your character in Fame.
I play Nick Piazza. He’s an actor who goes back to the performing arts school to hone his craft, to be a better actor. He was given fame at a young age for doing a peanut butter commercial, but he goes back so that he can be taken seriously as a real actor. He meets a girl along the way called Serena, and they have a lot of conflicting interests in terms of love, and how she falls in love with him, but he doesn’t want to get together with her for many different reasons. They have loads of arguments, loads of little bits in the show, and as for whether they get together, well you’ve have to come and watch it!
Have you previously seen the original movie?
I’ve seen the original film and also the TV show; both films, actually. I liked the original movie, and the TV show was really good to watch in terms of helping with the production we’re involved in now. I wasn’t a big fan of the newer film, though. The old ones are generally the best; the remakes are never as good.
You became known to British audiences for appearing on the BBC1 show Any Dream Will Do. How did you apply for the show, and what impact did the programme have on your career?
My sister actually told me about it, and I applied online for the TV show. Twelve years on, I’m still working in the industry, playing leads in musicals and doing what I love, so it has had a massive impact on my career. Albums, tours, concerts – it changed my life forever really.
You moved on to performing in the Joseph show around the country. How big was this experience for you, given that it was your introduction to the world of theatre?
I loved it. I played the Narrator straight after the TV show, and then about four years later, I went back to play Joseph himself. It was nice because I had grown up a little bit, and I had reached an age where I felt that I could play the part better. It was amazing to get to finally do it, especially since I had thought I would never get to do it, so it was lovely to don the coat, as they say.
You have appeared in numerous other major productions since then. What would you consider the highlights for you up to this point?
Doing the BBC show was amazing, so that has to be a highlight. One of the best shows that I’ve been involved in, to be honest, is this show now, Fame. I’m loving the production, the cast, everything that has gone into it, everyone who is involved, the whole team behind it and going round the country with them to do it.
What are your future ambitions within theatre?
My dream role would be to play Phantom in The Phantom Of The Opera; I would love to do that one day. For right now, though, I’m enjoying being in Fame!
Finally, why should the Liverpool audience come to see Fame?
David De Silva, who was the creator of Fame, described this production as the best he’s ever seen. And we’re going to the West End with it later on in the year. So, I think that’s the perfect reason to come along to watch it!
Fame runs at the Empire Theatre from Monday March 11 to Saturday March 16. To book your tickets, click here.