This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, the Stars in the House reunion reveals the original title of the film, how the famous title song was actually shot, where the lyrics from “I Sing the Body Electric” came from, and more.
We have been doing so many reunions on Stars In The House and I’ve been loving them! First of all, the best news is: people are continuing to donate to the Actors Fund. It’s truly amazing to me that, even in this time of so much economic uncertainty, people are still willing to part with money to help others less fortunate. So far to this date, we’ve raised $418,000 for The Actors Fund!
Back to reunions:
We had lots of the stars of the film Fame as well as the composing team, Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford. I asked Michael and Dean about the beautiful finale “I Sing The Body Electric.” The “mandate” from director Alan Parker (who sadly recently passed away) was that the song should incorporate an orchestra, soloists, a rock band, dancers, and a gospel choir. Amazingly, Michael was able to change musical styles throughout the song to accommodate all those elements!
As for the lyrics, Dean had read the script and, because it was a high school graduation song supposedly penned by the character Bruno, Dean wanted to incorporate a signature phrase from literature that Bruno probably studied during his four years of high school. He researched tons of signature required reading that most high school kids read and one night (crossing West 72nd Street!) he remembered the phrase “I sing the body electric” which is from a poem by Walt Whitman.
He loved that it included many of the arts featured at the High School of Performing arts: Singing, (“I sing) dance (the body) and synthesizers which Bruno is obsessed with in the film (“electric”)! As for the the soloists: Laura Dean, who played Lisa—the dancer who’s kicked out of the dance program—told us Alan Parker knew she could sing, but didn’t think her character should sing in the film. Well, one day, Laura was in the communal bathroom where they were filming the movie on 46th street and she was singing to herself, which she admits she often does. A man was washing his hands and complimented her on her voice. She joked that yes, she could sing, but Alan Parker didn’t want her singing in the film. Well, the man was Michael Gore and when he recorded the demo of the finale, he wound up using Laura on the first solo. Alan Parker heard it and it led to her being fully featured in the finale! Watch!