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A Class Act
A Class Act is a quasi-autobiographical musical loosely based on the life of composer-lyricist Edward Kleban, who died at the age of 48 in 1987. Featuring a book by Linda Kline and Lonny Price along with music and lyrics by Kleban himself, the musical uses flashbacks and the device of time running backwards to retrace the high and low points of the composer's personal and professional life. The original production concept was haphazardly thrown together by Kleban's close friend and author of the book by using a trunkful of songs that Kleban had written for a number of unproduced musicals, and writing new scenes or reworking original scenes around them, with Price polishing up the results. In addition to serving as a tribute to one of the award-winning collaborators of A Chorus Line, A Class Act provides yet another behind-the-scenes glimpse at how a musical is created and brought to the stage. In contrast to A Chorus Line however, the piece offers a considerably more severe warning as well about how an artist’s personal life—including struggles with mental illness and cancer—can interfere with, obstruct, and eventually doom his professional as well as his personal pursuits.
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