Lakeshore Productions, Inc., explored a new genre in 2002 with the selection of Fame, the Musical. This show appeared to be a great fit for a new director, Elkhart Lake native JaCobb Koebel, who had spent several years of training and performance in New York City.
The show, set in 1980-84, follows students attending the "Fame school" in New York City, officially the Fiorella H. La Guardia High School of Music & Art & Performing Arts. These talented kids make a commitment to four years of grueling artistic and academic work.
This show included two experiments for Lakeshore Productions, Inc.: a smaller cast (fewer than 40 people), and the decision to use natural voices only (no microphones). Koebel also handled choreography, while Janice Westphal was the music director.
Major student roles included Emily Timm as Carmen Diaz, Emily Ritger as Serena Katz, Katie Bruni as Grace "Lambchops" Lamb, Kathryn Kleinhans as Mabel Washington, Andrea Goshorn as Iris Kelly, Travis Knier as Tyrone (T.J.) Jackson, Zachary Pledl as Jose Vegas, Timothy Ecklor as Nick Piazza, Nic Horstmeier as Goodman King and Robert Niffenegger as Schlomo Metzenbaum. A five-member combo provided the music.
By blending comedy with strong conflict and drama, Fame ranks among the more challenging shows attempted by Lakeshore Productions, Inc. Fame confronted issues like prejudice, identity, self-worth, literacy, substance abuse and perseverance. Cast members agreed that, like the characters they were portraying, they experienced a large measure of artistic growth in this demanding production.