A contemporary take on the meaning of heart, hope and home will be played out on the Gahanna Lincoln High School stage as thespians present "In The Heights."
The show will be performed at 7:30 p.m. May 10-12, with a special Mother's Day matinee at 2 p.m. May. 13, at the school, 140 S. Hamilton Road.
Besides being a high-energy story, director Cindi Macioce said, the show is filled with some wonderful acting and technical challenges.
"The cast, crews and pit musicians have been learning about the Latin culture and style of music as it applies to Washington Heights (New York City), and then transferring that knowledge to the stage, in order to tell this beautiful story honestly and believably."
The show explores the dreamers of the community of Washington Heights and their attempt to not just eke out an everyday living but to celebrate life and their connections with each other, according to Macioce.
Senior Jace Nguyen, who plays the role of Usnavi, said the show is interesting and fun.
"It's a lot of hip-hop and salsa music," he said. "It's something you usually wouldn't see on stage, so we're excited to kind of put it out there and throw some new ideas on stage."
Senior Sabrina Brush, who plays Vanessa, said one of the things the audience will most like about "In The Heights" is how relatable and contemporary it is.
"Last year, we did a classic," she said. "This one, the audience will be able to relate to. The comedy will really resonate with them. The music is so fun. It's very upbeat with Latin, hip-hop, rap. It's unlike anything else."
Brush said her character is facing a rough patch in her life.
"She's living with a family who doesn't appreciate her," she said.
"She wants to get out of this dump of a town she lives in and make it to the city. And she'll do anything to get there."
Other characters and the students in those roles are: Nina, Sydney Cannon; Sonny, Mike Asamoah; Benny, Nate Asamoah; Kevin, Jay Sandlin; Camila, Chloe Smith; Abuela, Claudia Siri Nilsen; Daniela, Isabelle Lindsey; Carla, Deja Russell; Piragua Guy, Aidan Cahir; Graffiti Pete, David Rice; Jose-Bolero-men's dance captain, Keaton Ward; and Yolanda, Keke Reditt.
The ladies of Washington Heights include Revae Butler, Anneke Kessing, Megan Gifford, Cami Weldon, Maya Anderson, Kameron King, Emily Miller, Trinity Nhem, Sara Tuohy, Kelsey Wright, Shea Crowley, Laura Cox, Olivia Duvall, Megan Fleeger, Chandlyr Letzelter, Reagan Mounts, Amelia Scheetz, Mariah Smith, Ariel McNeil, Erica Thacker, Rachel Tuohy and Amelia Wentz.
The men of Washington Heights are Isaiah Rowe, Collin Smith, Jack Starr, Gavin Adams, Cedrick McCafferty, Brendan Polenchar, Blake Teegardin, Brandon Karl, Mark Mitchell, Luis Bardelang, Alex Cebriak, Justus Dominguez, Cole Frasher, Xavier McCafferty, Tyler Osborne, Sean Pettit, Danny Rico and Alex Wilhelm.
Macioce said other people who are making the production possible include Chris Wagner, set design; Jeremy Lahman, vocal director; Taya Lukacsko, choreographer; and Kevin Dengel, instrumental music director.
"We operate under, 'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,' " Macioce said. "It is such a joy to work with such passionate and talented people."
All seats cost $12, general admission.
Wheelchair seating is available with 24-hour notice by contacting Jim Singer at 614-478-5500.