Local students will be singing against the clock when the Community Theatre League, 100 W. Third St., presents Jonathan Larson's "Tick, Tick ... BOOM!" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
This is the first time that the CTL is producing a musical as its yearly student production, according to Jacquie Engel, youth program coordinator.
"The student productions are acted, staffed, directed, and in this case, music-directed and choreographed, by high school students," Engel said. "We think it's important for students to understand the entire creative process when it comes to putting on a show."
Selecting students for the production took several steps.
"Each year, we send out word via email, Facebook and our other student program ACT UP, to find potential directors," Engel said. "The kids who indicated they wished to direct ... they must research and find a show that would work well."
"Tick, Tick ... BOOM!" is an autobiographical show based on [Jonathan] Larson's experiences as a struggling musical composer trying to find himself and make a name for him all by the time he's 30, which is happening very soon," said director Ryan Looke, a Montoursville senior.
Larson composed the 1995 smash rock musical "RENT," which premiered off-Broadway the night after its creator died of an aortic aneurysm. "Tick, Tick ... BOOM!" features a similarly rocking score.
"I feel a lot of people can relate to this show because even if you're not a 'struggling artist', this show is just all about following your dreams and even if there are bumps along the way, you can accomplish anything with determination and the love and support of your friends and family," Looke said.
"It's challenging to have such a big role in a show that has such a small cast," said Clayton Lose, a freshman at Lock Haven University who plays the lead, "Jon."
The actors must literally put themselves out there; the production takes place on a "thrust stage" that extends into the audience.
"It's different working with performers who are not necessarily used to having the audience on all three sides of you," said Looke, who is making his directorial debut.
The young actors must access life experiences of people who are much older.
"My character has a great depth to his emotional background. He matures in a quick amount of time and it is difficult for me only being 17 to properly portray the undeniable problems of adulthood," said Caleb Albert, a Montoursville senior who plays "Michael" and has participated in CTL productions for nearly eight years.
"(In past roles) where I was someone completely out of character, I put on a voice, I wore a wig, I was able to hide under a lot of different things," said Lindsey Robertson, a Williamsport senior who plays "Susan" and has been performing on stage since eighth grade. "Now I play an average woman and there's nothing to really hide behind."
"I love this show first off because of the people in it, it is a student production and I have worked with everyone before so we all work really well together," Robertson said.
Tickets are $8 and available at ctlnet.org or at the CTL box office.