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“I can catch the moon in my hands.

“Don’t you know who I am?

Remember my name.”

By Walter Villa

She has her sights set on studying the culinary arts in Paris within two years.

She already runs her own direct-to-consumer business: Sweets By Amandine.

The dream is to own a French-inspired bakery, first in Miami, and then as part of an international franchise in France, Singapore, and South Korea.

Perhaps no student embodies the ambitious spirit of the musical FAME – quoted above – quite like St. Thomas University sophomore Amandine Saliba.

As it turns out, Saliba will be making her debut in an STU play later this month – April 26-28 at Monsignor Pace. Tickets are free, but reservations are encouraged for the three shows. For more information, navigate to

FAME first became, well, famous, in 1980 as a movie starring Irene Cara. Set in New York City, the film chronicles the successes and the struggles of students attending The High School of the Performing Arts.

Dr. Elizabeth Turner, STU’s Director of Vocal Arts, said FAME was selected because she feels it can best display her students’ versatile talents which include singing, dancing, and acting.

This is Dr. Turner’s third play at STU, following successful productions of Godspell and Little Shop of Horrors.

“We have students who are triple threats,” Dr. Turner beamed. “In fact, we have students who are quadruple threats — they can sing, dance, act, and function as part of the stage crew.”

FAME, as a play, has Miami roots. Dr. Turner said FAME made its stage debut in 1988 at the Coconut Grove Playhouse before going on to Broadway.

Dr. Turner and her students previously gathered to watch FAME, the original movie and the 2009 remake.

“Our kids are in love with the show — the plot, the music and the dancing,” Dr. Turner commented. “FAME is great because of its diverse cast, and diversity is one of our great strengths at STU.”

Aside from the catchy music, FAME touches on some deeper themes such as drug abuse, peer pressure, and literacy struggles.

“It’s way more than a happy-go-lucky musical,” Dr. Turner said. “One of the mottos of the show is: ‘Bring on Tomorrow,’ and that’s what we’re doing at St. Thomas University, encouraging our students to graduate in four years.”

The leading role in STU’s production of FAME is Carmen, as played by Anmalya Delva. Other key roles are Tyrone Jackson played by Mekhi Williams, Schlomo by Jonathan Sherman, and Miss Sherman by Saliba.

Delva, a 20-year-old junior, performed in Godspell and Little Shop of Horrors, but this is her first leading role at STU.

“It’s nerve-wracking because there’s such little time before Opening Night,” Delva said. “But my passion for the arts trumps all my fears.”

Delva, who plans to make it in show business as a performer, said the role of Carmen resonated with her.

“Like me, Carmen is ambitious,” Delva said, “and she won’t stop until she gets there.”

Sherman, a 21-year-old Psychology major, has a different perspective. He aspires to become a psychiatrist, and he believes that his stage experience can help him in his future endeavors.

“These plays are fun,” Sherman said. “But playing these characters can also better inform me in my future as a psychiatrist.

“The character I play, Schlomo, has always had the talent. His issue is his own confidence.”

Then there’s Saliba, who is playing Miss Sherman, a passionate teacher who does not give up on her students.

“I have been doing choir and theatre since I was little, and I have a passion for it,” Saliba said.

“Miss Sherman is a great role because teachers are so important. A lot of students don’t understand that they serve as the foundation of our education. Miss Sherman struck my heart in the way she worked with Tyrone, who is dyslexic.”

But as compelling as the FAME plot is, it does not supersede Saliba’s personal story.

A Miami native and the daughter of Haitian-born parents, Saliba is at STU to major in Business Administration.

That major should come in handy when she owns that planned-for bakery.

She is also brushing up on her French-language skills, which she will need for culinary school in Paris.

Down the road, Saliba hopes to open a wholesale supply chain that will provide products such as ovens for restaurants.

Amandine Saliba … As FAME’s title song says, remember her name.

“I’m gonna live forever.

“I’m going to learn how to fly.


I feel it coming together.

People will see me and cry.


I’m gonna live forever.

Baby, remember my name.”

Walter Villa

Author Walter Villa

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