Olentangy Liberty High School's spring musical presented a challenge for its student performers: Take a musical based on a novel written almost 150 years ago and make it enjoyable for today's audiences.
Senior Lexie Peck said she was a little concerned when she first heard Little Women would be the spring musical.
"It takes place in the 1800s, so I thought the students might think that's a little dry. I thought it might be boring, but it's definitely not," she said.
The classic coming-of-age novel written by Louisa May Alcott was first published in 1868. The story follows the four March sisters as they try to find their place in society.
Peck, who plays Aunt March, said as she learned more about the show, she was convinced it would be a success. She said it has a mix of drama and comedy that will appeal to the whole family.
"You can bring your grandparents or your baby sister," she said. "Everyone will like it."
Olentangy Liberty theater instructor Dan Skrovan said he initially worried his students might not connect with the material.
"I think the challenge was getting the kids to buy into it -- getting the kids to believe that this could actually be a show that they will enjoy," he said.
Skrovan said students proved they were up to the challenge early on as they fell in love with the production's story and music.
"Even though the music has been obviously influenced by 18th century-style music, it sounds modern," he said.
Senior Courtney Silber, who plays Jo, said she was thrilled about the choice of the musical from the beginning. She plays a role that was originated by Tony Award-winning actress Sutton Foster in 2005.
"Sutton Foster is like one of my idols," she said. "It's always been a dream of mine to play one of her roles, so it was really exciting for me."
She said the production is a crowd-pleaser, even if the crowd is not familiar with the story. The music, she added, will convince anyone who's skeptical about seeing a play set in the 1800s to give it a chance.
"The score is absolutely beautiful," she said. "The music is gorgeous."
Senior Lauren Falk, who plays Marmee, said she thinks the audience will react most to the production's emotional scenes. She said Little Women is an appropriate choice for the final musical for a group of seniors who have grown as close as a family.
"These are the people I've been acting with and singing with for so long," she said. "I know there's going to be so many tears on our Sunday performance."
The curtains will open at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, April 24-26, at the high school. A matinee performance will start at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for students. For more information, call the high school box office at 740-657-4291.