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Class Act 

Grade-A classroom musical pairs a boy beauty with a girl geek.

Unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably seen High School Musical on the Disney Channel since the made-for-TV movie first aired early last year. To cash in on the popularity, the kiddie-TV network brings the flick's theatrical counterpart to Playhouse Square tonight through Sunday.The musical tells the story of a popular basketball star and super-smart bookworm who discover a mutual love of singing. They defy the social pecking order at school by falling in love and playing the leads in the class musical. The relationship sparks the jocks, nerds, and members of the drama club into hatching convoluted plots to try to backstab the pair. But the couple inspires other classmates to go public with their own hidden talents. The stage show's silver-screen counterpart has mutated into a cultural and merchandising juggernaut, with two hit albums, a concert tour, book series, and video game, and a litany of DVDs. It's only natural to launch a theatrical production with 34 cast members and a live orchestra to play the entire original soundtrack. "Live theater adds a whole new dimension to the story and to the show itself," says spokeswoman Trish Reed. "If you like the movie, you'll love the play." Disney's High School Musical starts at 7:30 tonight through Friday, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Palace Theatre, 1615 Euclid Avenue. Tickets range from $27.50 to $67.50. Call (216) 241-6000 or visit
Nov. 14-16, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 1:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 19, 1 & 6:30 p.m., 2007

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