When the movie, "Up the Down Staircase" starring Sandy Dennis first appeared on the silver screen, the parents of today's Westerville Central High School students were probably still in high school.

When the movie, "Up the Down Staircase" starring Sandy Dennis first appeared on the silver screen, the parents of today's Westerville Central High School students were probably still in high school.

Next week, the current Central drama students will reprise the show on the school's stage.

Director Scott Paynter said performances are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6- 8 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 9. Tickets are $5 and can be reserved by calling the box office at (614) 797-6854.

The play tells the story of an idealistic first-year teacher facing the challenges of inner-city youth and the educational institution, Paynter said.

"This is a great satire on teaching and learning and is still as relevant now as when it was first produced," he said. "It is really well-written, timeless. The kids and their situations and the internal and external conflicts are still as relevant today as they were in the '70s or 100 years ago."

The Central version has been modernized "to make it easier to relate to," said Chelsea Gifford, who plays the Sandy Dennis role of Sylvia Barrett.

Sylvia has a computer on her desk and the kids have cell phones, Paynter said. Just a couple of words from the script -- corset and mimeos -- were foreign to the Westerville students, he said.

"In some aspects, it is the same now as then," said Jared Kirk who plays teacher Paul Barringer. "You have your cool teachers and your not-so-cool teachers. You have the troublemakers and the jocks, all kinds of students. It's just something that transcends time and works."

People will look at some of the characters and think, "I can relate to him," said Justin Gregorio, who plays student Joe Ferone.

During auditions, some students told Gifford that her personality fit the part of Sylvia.

"They were right. I am bubbly and fun and want to do something with my life," she said.

"I think everybody is having fun with their character," she said. While many are a little "pathetic" or boring, she said, "When you put them all together, the way you mix the people ... it works."

Appearing in the show are Jacob Gmerek as Dr. Maxwell Clarke, Angela Gregorio as Beatrice Schachter, Zacharey Owens as J. J. McHabe, Sydney Tammarine as Ella Friedenberg, Emilie Radigan as Frances Egan, Carolyn Stobbe as Charlotte Wolf, Joe Lucas as Samuel Bester, Macy McPeek as Sadie Finch, Joseph Firoben as Lou Martin, Travis Harvey as Lonnie Neumark, Raemi Mosley as Carole Blanca, Katie Taggart as Alice Blake, Kacee Swink as Vivian Paine, Devon Porter as Rusty O'Brien, Allie Burke as Linda Rosen, Lucas Chacana as Jose Rodriguez, KiYanna Miller as Carrie Blaine, Jeremy Quick as Harry Kagan, Lauren Hertz as Jill Norris, Miley Schmelzer as Rachel Gordon, Alora Slak as Elizabeth Ellis, Grant Jackowski as Charles Arrons, Emmanuel Frinpong as Edward Williams, Liz Higbie as Helen Arbuzzi, Jessica Abrahamsen as Francine Gardner, Beth Wildermuth as Katherine Wolzow, Annalise Bennig as Ellen and Mallory Horne and Karla Miller as students.

cpreston@thisweeknews.com