BEAVER SPRINGS - Take a group of middle schoolers armed with paper, pencils and a list of Broadway show tunes and what do you get?
A wacky and wild musical comedy written and performed by the pupils of West Snyder Middle School.
Producing a musical is a big undertaking for any middle school, said music director Michelle Bixler, but to write the script as well is a challenge not often accomplished by a group so young.
The pupils will perform their creation "A Broadway Dream" at 7 p.m. March 19 and 20 at the middle school in Beaver Springs. The cost is a $2 donation at the door. Snacks will be available for purchase during intermission.
One part "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and one part "A Christmas Carol," the plot centers around two college boys who get stuck in a music class and have to write a paper about music history, said Jessica Hetrick, who is co-directing the play with Beverly Kline Lash.
The two characters fall asleep and dream of ghosts leading them through the history of New York's most well-known street, she said. The two experience music from the 1930s to the present, from "New York, New York" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to "Dancing Queen," "Age of Aquarius" and songs from Hairspray.
Kacie Bogar, an eighth grader who helped write the script, said the story was simple to create because the students worked together.
"It's really cool seeing an idea on paper turn into something - a full musical," Bogar said. "We're not only performing it, but we also created it."
Eighth-grader Adam Zerby, who plays two ghosts, added, "It's cool that we're doing an original."
Sitting a large, homemade puppet across his arm, Zerby said his characters add comic relief to the play.
Bogar plays the ghost who guides the two students on a tour of Broadway. Both she and Zerby said they participated in the school's production of "The Hobbit."
"It was time for West Snyder to do a musical," Hetrick said, noting that the last theatrical at West Snyder was "The Hobbit" two years ago.
Yet, the directors wanted to do something that wouldn't cost a lot of money, she said. Lash, who had the idea to write their own play, picked a variety of Broadway tunes and recruited 10 pupils to write a musical using her selections, Hetrick said.
The original musical will include a pit band, organized by Bixler, and choreography arranged by her daughter Lexi.
For many of the pupils, "A Broadway Dream" is the first chance they have to participate in a production of this size, Hetrick said.
And despite the pupils' connection to the musical, the adults involved said they were surprised that most middle schoolers were unfamiliar with the showtunes.
"They are open and willing to learn a lot of music, even though they don't always like it," Bixler said.
During the song and dance scenes, Hetrick said they plan to display a slideshow of photos from the original musical or the productions put on when West Snyder was a high school.
"This has been a collaboration of a lot of people coming together," Hetrick said, noting that many parents are helping. Bixler and Hetrick, both graduates of West Snyder High School, now have children at the school who are involved in the musical.
"You need to come see this. It's an original work," Bixler said to the community. Musicals are a culture that "everyone needs to experience," she said.