Dozens of West End hopefuls auditioned in Cork yesterday for leading roles in the hit stage show Fame the Musical.
The aspiring young actors and actresses, who applied online and who were invited to audition, performed at the Everyman Palace Theatre before judges including actor and director Simon Delaney, stage producer Robert C Kelly and West End star Jacinta Whyte, who stared in Annie the Musical when she was 12.
Aaron O’Sullivan, 19, from Midleton, in Co Cork, who has performed on the Opera House stage in Michael Collins, Oliver, Candide, and Carmen, sang Mr Cellophane from Chicago.
And despite suffering from a cold, Emma Russell, 24, from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, arrived at her audition fresh from sitting a biology exam at UCC to sing Memory, from Cats.
“I was nervous before the audition but it would be unbelievable to get through,” she said.
The process to find the lead male and female roles will feature in a 10-week TV series on RTÉ One, presented by Derek Mooney, beginning in April.
The judges said they are looking for singers with a strong dance and acting ability to wow them.
When the nationwide auditions are finished, the chosen performers will take part in an intense workshop, before the numbers are whittled down to go through to the live TV shows which will be screened over eight weeks from the Helix in Dublin.
The judging panel will be joined for the live shows by Erica Gimpel, who starred as Coco Hernandez in the original Fame TV series.
Two performers will be crowned the winners and star in a nationwide tour of Fame The Musical.
Erica Gimpel visited Ireland in January encouraging hopefuls to apply to get involved online.
Out of the thousands of applications received, hundreds of performers are being auditioned in Dublin, Cork and London.
Larry Bass, the head of Screentime ShinAwiL which is producing the show for RTÉ said: “Fame is set to be the ultimate family show and a great opportunity to give one boy and one girl a real career in musical theatre by launching one of Ireland’s biggest ever musical theatre productions.”