Cristina Ledford, West Hernando Middle School's chorus and band teacher, wanted to have her students tackle a musical production. Then she learned the price of the license to perform a Broadway show, which includes scripts and music, is $495.
Sigh. Maybe next year.
Seventh-graders Corinne Huiskens, Emily Roche, and Samantha Soreng, all 13, approached her with Plan B. They would write a musical. For free.
Ledford told them to go for it and set a Feb. 28 deadline. The girls got to work and produced Subject to Change: The Musical.
Ledford read it. "I was blown away," she said.
"We went with it and had auditions," Ledford said. The girls were part of the audition process and they run the rehearsals. "I'm there as a voice of reason if they need me," Ledford said.
The show will be presented at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the cafeteria. Admission is free, although Samantha said donations would be accepted.
The script is 58 pages long and tells the story of a new girl in school and the drama that ensues. "It's mostly a comedy," Samantha said.
"And it's really funny," said Emily.
"And we want people not to expect a love story," added Samantha. "It's meant to appeal to all ages."
The project began with Corinne, who likes to write, Samantha said. The three best friends got to work. "It was really a group effort," Corinne said. It started with one little scene and grew from there.
There are 24 characters played by 15 actors. They are in grades six through eight.
Expenses were considerably less than $495. They included the cost of script copies and scenery, which was made by what the girls called the "wonderful art department," primarily art teacher Debbie Kelly and seventh-grade Siobhan Grube. Seventh-grader Katie Quenneville, the girls' pal from chorus class, also helped with scenery.
The actors are Sydney Sizemore, Amber Marsh, Destiny Kennerly, Alec Irwin, Nathan Huiskens, Carissa Grasso, Brianna Fletcher, Sarah Ricchi, Kaitlyn Kibby, Vladimir Cius, Kira Piccone, Monique Smith, Alyssa Kelleher, Regina Bavington and Cameron McGee.
The girls are united in their appreciation for Ledford. "Mrs. Ledford has been absolutely amazing," Corinne said.
"She let us do this," Emily said. She gave her time, help and ideas.
The admiration is mutual. "These three girls are just fabulous students," Ledford said.
Now the show is just about ready to go. Corinne referred to it as their baby. "And it's been born," said Emily.
"When the show ends, I feel like I'll be sobbing like a small child," Samantha said.
Corinne is the daughter of Faith and Terry Huiskens, Emily is the daughter of Melissa and Timothy Roche, and Samantha is the daughter of Kelly Soreng, all of Spring Hill.