The Actors Fund — the national human services organization that helps everyone in performing arts and entertainment in times of need, crisis or transition — celebrated “FAME” 35th Anniversary Reunion Concert on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, California.
A one-night-only celebration of the music and memories that made the television series “FAME” a worldwide phenomenon, this landmark reunion marked the first US concert by the cast since 1985. 100% of the proceeds from the event benefit The Actors Fund’s programs and services.
The concert was headlined by “FAME” stars Debbie Allen (“Lydia Grant”), Jesse Borrego (“Jesse Valesquez”), Lee Curreri (“Bruno Martelli”), Cynthia Gibb (“Holly Laird”), Erica Gimpel (“Coco Hernandez”), Billy Hufsey (“Christopher Donlon”), Carlo Imperato (“Danny Amatullo”), Valerie Landsburg (“Doris Schwartz”) and P.R. Paul (“Montgomery MacNeil”). Surprise guests included composers William Goldstein and Robert Kraft, legendary vocalist Oren Waters,, and original “Fame” dancers Shaun Earl, Melissa Hurley Cassidy, Kim Layton Hurley, Eartha Robinson and Bronwyn Thomas. The concert featured Dedrick Bonner, Melissa Haygood, Jesimiel Jenkins and Margaret M. Spirito on background vocals. The band was comprised of Mike Walker on keyboards, Steve Garcia on guitar, Roy Venturina on keyboards, Carter Aristei on drums and percussion, and Joey Clement on bass.
The “FAME” 35th Anniversary Reunion Concert was written and directed by Luke Yankee, musical direction by Mike Walker, and produced by Scott Appel for The Actors Fund.
The evening’s set list was as follows: “Life Is A Celebration” (Erica Gimpel, Carlo Imperato & cast),“On The West Side” (Cynthia Gibb & Valerie Landsburg, featuring Robert Kraft), “I Still Believe In Me” (Erica Gimpel, featuring Lee Curreri), “Dogs In The Yard” (P.R. Paul), “Be My Music” (Lee Curreri & Erica Gimpel), “Friday Night” (Carlo Imperato with Jesse Borrego, Billy Hufsey and P.R. Paul) “Beautiful Dreamer” (Valerie Landsburg), “Out Here On My Own” (Cynthia Gibb), “High Fidelity” (Valerie Landsburg), “The Other Side Of The Road” (Jesse Borrego), “A Special Place” (Debbie Allen, featuring William Goldstein), “Starmaker” (Cast) and “Fame”(Erica Gimpel & cast).
“FAME” originally premiered on NBC on January 7, 1982 and won 2 consecutive Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical in 1983 and 1984. Based on the 1980 film of the same name, the series followed the lives of the students and faculty at New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts. Over the course of 6 seasons on NBC and in syndication, 136 episodes were produced. The worldwide popularity of the show led to several hit records and sold-out concerts tours.
The “FAME” 35th Anniversary Reunion Concert follows The Actors Fund’s concert presentations of “Bombshell” (the musical created within NBC’s “Smash”) and “Grey’s Anatomy: The Songs Beneath The Show.”
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone — performers and those behind the scenes — who works in performing arts and entertainment. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund’s programs include social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund is a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition. Visit www.actorsfund.org.