To many, it is a bad word.

It provokes anger, uneasiness and contempt.

Of course, the word here is "cancer," which Shadowbox Live will tackle in its original production of "F#(K Cancer: The Musical."

The dark musical comedy opens at 7:30 p.m. June 14 in the Brewery District locale, 503 S. Front St.

Tickets are $25 and available at

The show will continue on select Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays through Aug. 26.

Katy Psenicka, choreographer for the show, said the performance focuses on three stories:

* Frank, a middle-aged man diagnosed with brain cancer.

* Leah, a 30-something performer with breast cancer.

* Logan, an 18-year-old college student with Hodgkin's disease.

Psenicka said the tales are dramatic, using the viewpoints of patients, family members and caregivers, with a careful lacing of humor to balance the sobering message.

"It's going to resonate with people," she said.

"Humor is a way of coping just like crying is a way of coping," she said. "That's how you make a dark musical comedy about something as formidable as the 'c' word."

Psenicka said the idea for the musical came from the late Stev Guyer, co-founder of Shadowbox who was stricken with brain cancer and recovering from surgery. He had etched out the title but didn't have immediate plans to produce it, she said. Guyer, after a long battle, died of cancer March 29.

Stacie Boord, an actress with Shadowbox, picked up the project and collaborated with the rest of the staff on the theme.

Shadowbox then worked with and Ed Hamell, a musician and songwriter, to create the score.

Jimmy Mak, head writer at Shadowbox, said he and Hamell bounced ideas off of each other to synch up the music with the dialogue.

"It was a very reciprocal relationship as far as the writing went," Mak said.

He said writing the script was a welcome challenge.

"It was very difficult because I didn't just want it to be a sob story," he said. "I didn't want it to be 100 percent depressing. I wanted it to be real and uplifting and touching and fun."