Fame is the game as first Broadway show goes to China

The Road to Fame, Doc Fest
The Road to Fame, Doc Fest
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The Road to Fame, Showroom Cinema

This film, having its world premiere this week at Sheffield Doc/Fest, tells a unique story of coming of age with distinctively Chinese characteristics.

The film chronicles the staging of the American musical Fame – China’s first official collaboration with Broadway – by the senior class at China’s top drama academy as their graduation showcase. So the kids from China’s Fame academy are putting on a show about their American counterparts.

During the eight-month process, five students are seen competing for roles, struggling with pressure from family and authority and preparing to graduate into a cutthroat and corrupt showbusiness world.

Part of China’s Single-Child generation (the state banned couples from having more than one child), they were spoiled growing up but are now obliged to carry on the failed dreams of their parents.

They must confront complex social realities and their own anxieties and, in the process of staging Fame, negotiate their own definitions of and paths to success in today’s China.

As China’s economy rapidly expands, its entertainment industry has grown explosively, say the makers of the film.

Young people, enamoured by the glitz of stardom, rush into showbusiness careers.

The Chinese government has begun investing heavily in creative industries to enhance the country’s ‘soft power’ to match its economic clout. Developing a local musical industry and local talent becomes part of the endeavour.

The film is on today (Wednesday) at the Showroom and Sunday at the Odeon, Sheffield.