RTE Television

Fame: The Musical


In a first for Irish television, Fame The Musical is offering one boy and one girl the chance to kickstart their career and land a job touring the country. The nation's young hopefuls put their acting, singing and dancing talents to the ultimate test in the hope of clinching the dream prize of a lifetime, a lead role in the nationwide tour of Fame the Musical.

Presented by Derek Mooney and produced for RTÉ by Screentime ShinAwiL, Fame the Musical airs for 10 weeks on RTÉ One at 6.30pm on Sunday nights.

When the search for the male and female lead of Fame the Musical was launched in January, thousands of applications were received and hundreds of performers were auditioned at locations in Dublin and Cork, and in London's West End, the heart of musical theatre.

In the first episode viewers will see the hopefuls being put through their paces at the auditions by actor and director Simon Delaney; stage producer Robert C Kelly; and West End star Jacinta Whyte, who started her career in the UK & Irish production of Annie the Musical and went on to take lead roles in Blood Brothers, Miss Saigon and Les Miserables. Those who successfully wow the judges will be seen going through Fame School in episode two, an intense workshop phase.

It's here where the judges, with the help of acting coach Gene Rooney and choreographer Daryn Crosbie, will decide who will go through to the live TV shows and battle it out over eight weeks, on the Helix stage, live in front of the nation. The finalists will sing for the public vote to help them secure their place in the final and in the end only two performers will be crowned the winners and take their pride of place in the nationwide tour of Fame The Musical.

Joining the panel for the live shows will be Erica Gimpel, who starred as "Coco Hernandez" in the original "Fame" TV series and notably, graduated from New York's High School of Performing Arts, the very school Fame is based on. Erica returns to Ireland after visiting in January to launch the series and encouraging hopefuls to apply. She knows the real test of mettle is performing live.

Erica says: 'We're looking for performers who not only sing, but also act and dance, live on stage. We're looking for the full package. So these young hopefuls will be giving 100% of themselves in order to make their dream career a reality. It's going to be very challenging, we are going to be asking them to stretch beyond what they've ever done before by putting them through some rigorous paces. And this process is going to make for some truly unmissable television!'

About The Judges

Jacinta Whyte

Dublin-born Jacinta Whyte started her career playing the title role in the original production of 'Annie' at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London and the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin.

She continued her West End career by staring as Linda in Blood Brothers, Ellen in Miss Saigon, and Eponine in Les Miserables, a role she also played at the Point Theatre in Dublin. Jacinta has toured the UK with stage productions of Aspects of Love, where she played Giuiletta, and Grease, as the character Rizzo. During her performing career she has also appeared with many of the world's leading orchestras including the Melbourne Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Royal Philharmonic of Flanders, Ulster Orchestra, Royal Scottish National and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

She currently lives in London and is a regular guest on BBC Radio 2 programme Friday Night Is Music Night with the BBC Concert Orchestra. She has worked extensively for RTÉ Radio and Television, including having her own early 90's TV series Jacinta.

She is excited to embark on the search for the characters of Nick and Serena in Fame The Musical, perhaps giving a young performer a chance to follow in her very successful footsteps.

Simon Delaney

Simon is best known for his portrayal of the hapless barrister Michael in RTÉ's award-winning comedy drama, Bachelors Walk, for which he received two Irish Film and Television Best Actor nominations.

Most recently, Simon appeared in Val Falvey TD on RTÉ and Fathers & Sons for ITV. He is currently starting in the RTÉ Young People's series Roy where he plays Bill, father of cartoon son Roy. Simon also has also graced the silver screen in memorable Irish movies such as Intermission, Spin the Bottle, The Halo Effect and most recently he played the lead role of Liam Murphy in Zonad.

Simon has a deep passion for musical theatre and has stared and directed many plays and musicals over the last 10 years. In 2004 he made his West End debut in Marie Jones' comedy, Stones in his Pockets, a role he recently reprised for a national tour and a run at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin.

Some of his other musical theatre credits include The Blues Brothers (Jake), The Irish premier of The Full Monty (Dave), 42nd Street (Julian Marsh), The World premier of The Wiremen (Tommo), Guys and Dolls (Nathan Detroit) and The Hired Man (Isaac Tallentire).

Directing credits include Cinderella, The Full Monty, Westside Story, Sweet Charity, Honk, Oliver, Cabaret and The Hot Mikado.

Robert C Kelly

Robert C Kelly has over 25 years experience of producing plays, musicals, concerts and pantomimes. He has presented artistes as diverse as Elaine Paige, Jane McDonald, Joe Longthorne, Elkie Brookes, Danny la Rue, Bobby Davro, Lena Martell, Dean Park, Andy Stewart, Keith Harris and Orville, Gary Wilmot and The Nolans.

Robert has produced and co-produced many plays and musicals including "Menopause The Musical", Olivier Award Winning "Defending the Caveman", Pam Gem's "Piaf", nine productions (including a West End run) of the comedy "Mum's the Word", the musical comedy "Always Patsy Cline" (UK and Australia) and many more. His company has also recently produced some brand new shows including sensational concerts, "The Piano Men" and "The Music of Dirty Dancing".

Over the past five years Robert has produced many shows in Ireland including a 22-week Dublin season and 10-week Irish tour of "Menopause The Musical", a 10-week season of "Strictly The Rat Pack" and the European première of "The Blues Brothers Revival" plus two Dublin seasons and an Irish tour of "The Gruffalo". He has produced five Irish tours of "Dirty Dusting".

Robert's biggest production of 2010 is set to be this brand new production of Fame The Musical In Dublin's newest theatre, the Grand Canal Theatre.

More then anyone Robert cares about casting the right talent for the right role and in Fame The Musical, he is hoping to find the brightest new musical theatre stars to become his new Nick and Serena.

Erica Gimpel

Erica Gimpel received international acclaim for her performance as "Coco Hernandez" in the hit television series FAME. Since that time she has appeared in dozens of feature films and television shows. Amongst her numerous television roles she played social worker Adele Nueman in six seasons of the Emmy Award-winning series, ER. Her most recent television credits include the Golden Globe winning series Grey's Anatomy and House. She also has a recurring role on the awarding-winning Boston Legal and Veronica Mars.

Her numerous film credits see her star along side the likes of Oscar-Nominee Ruby Dee and Academy Award-winners Forest Whitaker, Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren. Erica has just completed shooting the independent films Blue Eyes in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and Veronika Decides To Die based on the life-affirming book by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho.

While balancing a full acting career Erica is also a singer/songwriter blending the styles of Jazz/Pop/Alternative. Her album Spread Your Wings and Fly has just been released in America. Erica is also an active member of the world peace organization, The SGI-USA.

Fame: The Musical
  • RTÉ One, Sunday, 6.30pm