After four years, New Albany High School's summer theater class has returned.

Students participating in a two-week production of "Two Gentlemen of Verona," a comedy by William Shakespeare, will showcase their work this weekend in the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts' Mershad Hall at 100 W. Dublin-Granville Road in New Albany.

The class, which was launched in 2011, ended in 2014 as a result of the New Albany-Plain Local School District's rejected levy that year, said theater director Elliott Lemberg.

"Some of the summer programming was the first to go," he said.

Although the class originally was funded by both student fees and the district, this time it is funded solely by student fees, Lemberg said. The $250 price per student didn't increase from 2014, but production sizes are dependent upon the number of students who register, he said.

For example, this year Lemberg opted for a play instead of a musical because registration fees couldn't support a larger production, he said.

During the school year, 30 to 40 students are involved in the cast, 15 to 20 students are on the crew and 10 to 20 student musicians play in the pit during musicals, Lemberg said.

For the summer program, 24 students are involved, and six of those students are completing their senior-seminar projects through their involvement in the production, he said. One of the 24 students, junior Sara Tuohy, is from Gahanna Lincoln High School, he said.

This is the first year the class was open to students from other school districts, Lemberg said, and he plans to do the same again next year.

Although the summer class gives students a place to express themselves over the summer, the fast-paced production also is comparable to a professional theater's summer schedule, Lemberg said.

"It gives them some real-world experience," he said.

Sophomore Mason Feiler, 15, said the summer production is a fuller experience than a production held during the school year, because students work longer hours instead of just a few hours after school.

Students attend six-hour workdays on weekdays July 16 to 30, Lemberg said. They work on all aspects of the show, from costumes and props to set design. Because they don't have school during the day, they are able to collaborate with theater professionals on costume designs and lighting, he said.

Lemberg said he plans to hold the class next summer and hopes to make it an annual program.

Next year, he also plans to take students on a 15-day trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, to perform a show in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, something the class did in 2014.

Annie Ratanapan, a 16-year-old senior, said the two-week production and smaller class size gives her and her peers the opportunity to delve deeper into the subject material than they would during a school production.

"It's a closer environment," she said.

"Two Gentlemen of Verona" will be performed at at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 29, at the McCoy.

Tickets are available at seatyourself.biz/nahs and at the door.

They will cost $8 for staff members, seniors and students and $12 for general admission.

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