FAME the musical was based on the hit 1980 film starring Irene Cara, directed by Alan Parker. The film has achieved registered cult status, with the title song winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 1980 Oscar’s Ceremony.
The song was written by Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford, who are also responsible for the other 80s hit song ‘Footloose’ and the subsequent film and musical. The song reached number 4 on the US Billboard 100, and when released in the UK in 1982 to coincide with the start of the TV mini series, reached number 1 in the UK Singles Chart.
The film is set at the New York High School of Performing Arts, which currently operates under the title of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts. The plot is divided into separate sections, showing auditions to the school and the student’s progression from freshmen through to seniors. Many of the characters in the film bare resemblance to those in the musical, as the film covers similar topics such as bullying, sexuality, drugs and friendship.
The film was nominated for a host of awards, winning two Oscars for Michael Gore for the Original Music Score and Best Original Song. At the BAFTA Awards the film won Best Sound, and despite a number of Golden Globe nominations for Irene Cara, took home only the award for Best Original Song.
In 1982 MGM Television produced a spin off series which ran on the NBC network. The series proved to be more popular in the UK and Australia than it did domestically, and the Kids From Fame had two singles in the UK top 10 – ‘High Fidelity’ and ‘Starmaker’.