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Class of 3000

a World Premiere
CATEGORY : COMEDY CHILDREN MUSICAL PUPPET
by Andre Benjamin and Tommy Lynch. Adapted and directed by Rosemary Newcott

COMPANY : Alliance Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Woodruff Art Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 3324

SHOWING : March 07, 2009 - March 29, 2009

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

For the first time ever on stage, experience the wildly original hit animated series as it leaves the small screen and jumps full throttle onto the stage at the Alliance. Andre Benjamin (OutKast’s André 3000) developed this story of an international music star who flees his own celebrity to return to Atlanta. But new musical inspiration is just around the corner when he’s discovered by a group of young musical prodigies at a performing arts middle school – in a desperate search for a music teacher. Class of 3000 LIVE is a hometown Atlanta original, harnessing the power of self-expression to inspire all ages to live their dreams.


CAST & CREW LIST
Stage Manager Elizabeth Campbell
US Lil' D/Sunny Bridges Brandon Chubbs
Kam Jonathan Davis
Kam Jono Davis
US Phil/Eddie/Kam Doug Graham
US Bus Driver/Manager/Principal Luna/Mr. Randy Havens
Lil' D Bernard Jones
Madison/Bianca Wendy Melkonian
Sunny Bridges Sinatra Onyewuchi
Phil/Assistant Stage Manager Brandon O\'Dell
Kim Zany Pohlel
US Kim/Tameka/Madison/Bianca Kayla Sklar
Eddie Justin Tanner
Bus Driver/Manager/Principal Luna/Mr. Ba Scott Warren
Tameka Sharisa Whatley
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Adjusting the Dream
by Dedalus
Saturday, March 28, 2009
4.0
One of my favorite responses to “How you doing?” is “Living the Dream,” meaning, no matter how rotten things are, I’m going to do my best to face the day in the best of all possible moods. The cynic in me sometimes thinks silently “I gotta get myself a better dream,” but, in most circumstances, it’s an honest response to feeling pretty durn good about life and about what the day has to offer.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this was an actual catchphrase that Outkast’s André Benjamin used in his animated Cartoon Network series “Class of 3000.” Then double that surprise, and you’ll have a clue to my reaction to the stage adaptation currently being produced on Alliance’s main stage.

To begin with, I never really got into the music of Outkast, perhaps wrongly grouping it with other contemporary rhythm and blues that tends to irritate me more often than it pleases me. I’d never seen the animated series, so I had no idea what to expect. Yet, I found the play bouncy and likable, with a storyline and theme that appealed to the kid and the dreamer in me.

Sunny Bridges (a warm and likeable Sinatra Onyewuchi) is a megastar of André Benjamin proportions. He is, in fact, “Living His Dream.” However, he has found that that dream comes with some unfortunate side issues, such as sycophants and unreasonable demands and … and … and… Needless to say, the “Dream” needs some tweaking.

Enter Li’l D (Bernard Jones), an Atlanta middle-schooler with dreams of being the next Sunny Bridges. He puts together a band with his friends, and starts to make music. Sunny shows “You Can Come Home Again” by coming back to Atlanta to mentor Li’l D, and, eventually, to take on a more responsible role in the lives of his young protégés.

The fact that Mr. Benjamin himself aspires to return home to teach (once Outkast has run its course) is, of course, entirely NOT coincidental.

Director Rosemary Newcott brings to this production her usual invention and unfailing energy, and the cast creates distinctive and believable characters, who, for the most part, are less than half the actors’ real ages. The entire production is a literal love song to music – not only do we see the dreams of these kids (and adults), but by the end of the play, we’re almost sharing them.

More to the point, the play reminds us that we can go home again, that we can switch “dreams” in mid-stream, and that just because you’ve “reached the top” does not mean you’ve reached the end. It’s an inspiring message told in a tuneful and compelling manner. (The fact that I want to see some of the animated series and the further adventures of these characters is entirely relevant).

Unfortunately, my own protégée was preoccupied with Girl Scout Cookie sales and could not come with me, so I cannot offer you a “kid’s eye” perspective on the piece, but all the young ones at last Saturday’s matinee see3med to be having a good time, and all came out with smiles on their faces. Clocking in at a rapid 50 minutes, we grown-ups may long for a little more, but it was the perfect length for the young of attention-span.

So, just to recap, “Class of 3000 Live” is lively and tuneful play for kids and their grown-ups, and a reminder to those grown-ups that it is never to late to have a dream, never too late to follow (or even change) it.

When I see plays like this, I can truly say I am living my dream.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)


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