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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Class of 3000 LIVE has its high notes and its flats

click to enlarge SAX ED: Sinatra Onyewuchi (center) takes on André Benjamin’s Sunny Bridges in Class of 3000 LIVE
  • SAX ED: Sinatra Onyewuchi (center) takes on André Benjamin’s Sunny Bridges in Class of 3000 LIVE

From 2006-2008, the Cartoon Network’s “Class of 3000” was the brainchild of André Benjamin, who voiced the main character and provided appropriately funky compositions that could be described as OutKast Jr.

The show also embraced surreal sight gags that would seem to defy translation from animation to live theater, but Alliance Children’s Theatre artistic director Rosemary Newcott didn’t flinch from adapting and directing “Class of 3000.” The world premiere of Class of 3000 LIVE primarily takes place in and around an Atlanta music school, and includes elaborate visual jokes such as a giant squid’s intrusive tentacles and a dog sailing across the stage on a little boat (actually a remote-controlled car in disguise).

What do giant squids and sailing dogs have to do with the music school? Practically nothing, but “Class of 3000” frequently emphasized loopy humor and showbiz satire at the expense of plot or character. On stage, Class of 3000 LIVE proves as exuberant but insubstantial as its source material.

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