IT IS something the cast of the original Fame could only dream of. Alex Jordan Mills will celebrate his 23rd birthday by taking to the stage in his home town as one of the stars of a major musical.
The young performer will be playing Nick Piazza in Fame The Musical, the classic tale of the trials and tribulations of budding dancers. And Woking’s New Victoria Theatre will be packed with family, friends and old colleagues from Woking High School and Woking College.
“It’s going to be great, I’m really looking forward to it,” says Alex, who graduated from Guildford School of Acting last summer and has already appeared in the West End production of Hairspray.
“I performed at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre when I was younger but this will be my first time at the New Victoria Theatre,” adds the 22-year-old.
“I always knew I wanted to be an actor, I set out to do straight acting but it was only when I was about 17 at Woking College I started to really get into it. It was there that I picked up the passion for it and thought I could do it seriously.”
He developed a talent for musical theatre at Guildford and is relishing the challenge of touring with Fame The Musical.
“I’d seen the film but I had to go back and research it again,” he says. “The TV series is a bit dated but there’s some connections. I did my research to see where we were going to go with it.
“The director Gary Lloyd didn’t want to keep it in the ’80s, so it’s been revamped and re-imagined and it’s a 2014 version.
“It keeps the same stories but the choreography has been updated, it’s really commercial. The music has been revamped too but of course we still have the iconic Fame song.” Alex’s big song is I Wanna Make Magic – he says he does it in “a kind of Ed Sheeran style” – and he also sings Let’s Play A Love Scene with Serena (Sarah Harlington).
He says the production’s music is “more Will.I.Am than ’80s” and adds: “Gary wanted to keep away from the cheese factor although because it’s Fame you can’t get away from it totally. But he’s made it a bit more gritty and real. It does tackle quite a lot of hard subjects like drugs and suicide.
“Most of the costumes have been updated but people may be relieved to hear there are still a few leg-warmers to be seen!
“Generally it’s fresh and different but people will still recognise most of it.”
Fame is, of course, the story of the students of New York’s High School of Performing Arts, including the fame-obsessed Carmen, ambitious actress Serena, wisecracking comedian Joe, quiet violinist Schlomo, and ‘talented but dyslexic dancer Tyrone.
“We’ve all recently left drama school so it’s not difficult to get into character,” he laughs. “It’s like going back and reliving those few years.”
Alex will be with the tour until the end of the summer but says long-term he still wants to move into straight acting.
“I’ve trained in musical theatre and shows like this, which are high energy, are such fun,” he says. “The people are great, too. Alex Thomas who plays Tyrone is the most amazing dancer I’ve ever seen. He’s been getting great reviews.
“But my main ambition is to move through to straight theatre, do some plays and move into TV and film, and take on some really interesting characters and roles within film.”
Fame The Musical will be at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, from Monday, May 19 until Saturday, May 24 (Alex’s 23rd birthday!).