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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘The Old Skool Special’ – Old school meets the next generation

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Gather the family, put on your finest ’60s- and ’70s-inspired outfits, and make your way to the Madame Walker Theatre Center for a musical performance like no other. Enjoy old school classics performed by a group of young singers and dancers at Asante Children’s Theatre’s production “The Old Skool Special.” The play will be a “celebration of soul music,” said the theater’s media communication specialist Ennis Adams Jr. 

Adams, who was a member of the Asante Children’s Theatre as a child and has served as a co-director, acting coach and mentor as an adult, says the young entertainers will take audience members down memory lane.

“There is nothing better than being able to go to a concert and hear classic jams that you jam to with your parents, your family and at the family reunion. I am talking the Supremes; I am talking Gladys Knight. They are going to take you on a musical journey. These young people have really worked hard to bring these classics to life,” said Adams.

The Asante Children’s Theatre aims to educate, challenge and inspire young artists while celebrating the unique traditions of African and African-American performing arts. The youth range from ages 6 to 18. While many of the students are two generations removed from the eras in which this music was popular, Adams was happy to discover that many of the songs were familiar to them. 

“A lot of the kids have heard these songs on the radio, or somewhere at some point of time in their life. It is really something to see how well they respond to it. The theater gives them the opportunity to be exposed to something new. It gets them out of their comfort zone,” said Adams.

Adams knows firsthand the confidence gained from being on stage and feels it’s important for the community to come out and show support.

“The skills that they are learning in this program will help them as they develop into productive students in school and in their future jobs. They are also getting positive reinforcement from adults and fellow peers. It’s giving them confidence to step out, even if they are doing something that’s different, and they are having fun while doing it.”

Performances of “The Old Skool Special” take place on Saturday, June 17, at 2 p.m., and Sunday, June 18, at 4 p.m. Advanced tickets are $10 and can be purchased at asantechildrenstheatre.org. Tickets are $12 at the door.

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