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History of the "FAME SCHOOL"

high_schoolWriter David De Silva based the FAME story on the La Guardia School of Performing Arts. On a yearly basis, the "FAME" school in New York City will receive over 15,000 applications and less than 1,000 will be admitted. Applicants come from each of the five New York City boroughs, from every walk of life in an ethnic and cultural mix that represents the city's diversity.

The audition or portfolio is essential. Those who are accepted have the main ingredient: talent. Admission is based on the audition followed by an academic screening test - but talent opens the door. The pace is grueling, the teachers demanding and the competition never ending. The tuition is free.

As a part of the school system of New York City, the Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, provides 2,400 students with lessons in drama, dance, voice and instrumental music. These teenagers pay their dues through a rigorous schedule, combining professional level conservatory style arts training with college preparatory academics in equal parts.

La Guardia is the first government funded school for the arts in the United States and is a model for schools in the United Kingdom such as the Brit School in Croydon and the Liverpool School for the Performing Arts founded by Paul McCartney. There are "FAME" schools in cities across the U.S. in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

It all began in 1936 when Mayor La Guardia founded the High School of Music and Art which later merged with the School of Performing Arts. In 1984, the school moved into its own nine story building in the Lincoln Center district of Manhattan. The school was an answer to a twenty year promise from the City's school board for a state-of-the-art facility. It houses a 1,100 seat concert hall and a 500 seat theatre.

Famous alumni from the "FAME" school include: Diahann Carroll, Janis Ian, Eartha Kitt, Shari Lewis, Liza Minnelli, Al Pacino, Billy Dee Williams, Suzanne Vega, Jerome Robbins, Carroll O'Connor and Ben Vereen.

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