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A Place where Kids can go and Play in Their Dreams

by Vivian Vasquez

photo's by Khalid Muhammad


All you need is a dream, motivation, determination to persue a theatrical experience. The Classical Theatre of Harlem is such a place. Located at 141 St. and St. Nick is a professional theatre company since February 1999. It's a place where kids can go and play in their dreams. Whether it be singing a song from the heart or quoting Shakespeare on the stage or maybe hanging in the rafters playing with lights, hearing the sound of music all around you.

Who knew that an old taxi garage could produce a surreal outlet for the young at heart. When asked, Why Harlem? Alfred Preisser quickly said, "Why not Harlem. Harlem in itself inspires me. Harlem is a box of crayons, with new colors to create with. "

Alfred believes that a classic is a story of universal importance and is timeless. I must agree.

Alfred had never seen a classical theatre until college when he majored in visual arts and stumbled into the light of theatre. Once the owner of his own theatre on the lower East side, he now directs plays and works with students


In his 1 1/2 years at the Classical Theatre of Harlem he has been a part of reinacting plays, such as Shakespeare's Macbeth, using the students as the actors. Alfred Preisser likes working with them because unlike "professionals" they don't need motivion it's in the experience itself. Chris McElroen who started at the Classical Theatre of Harlem teaching technical theatre is now the Assistant Director and was looking forward to the program's first birthday on February 12,2000.

Chris feels that " We give back to the community through giving back to the kids". A project soon to be in the works is a performance of Romeo and Juliet. They will be using modern day dress and African American Montague's and Latin American capulets, but you didn't hear it from me. (Shhh)

You can look forward to the theater's performance of Panther Woman, illustrating the role of women in the Black Panther Party. I know James Blige, a father of one of the girls in the Classical Theatre of Harlem is looking foward to it. According to his recollection, when he came to the performance of Macbeth, it was sold out for all of the 15 night that it was playing. He had a ball. CBS even showed bits of the play.


An extraordinary program for extraordinary dreamers. For those of you who dream of being in the spotlight or working it, write to:Classical Theatre of Harlem Inc.

P.O.Box 2171

New York, N.Y. 10021 (or)


call (212)539-8828 or online at www.classicaltheatreofharlem.com





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