"We've been doing this for 10 years," said Janet Cook, the show's director. "We still do the big plays, but I wanted to give the kids the chance to experience a really intimate performance with the audience."
Just because the theater is smaller doesn't mean the performance is, however.
The show will feature 38 songs, ranging from rock to do-wop to comedy, with the majority of the choreography done by the students themselves.
Backed by bright costumes and simple set pieces, the performers themselves are more than enough to hold the audience's attention.
In the show's title song performance, taken from the musical Hairspray, that choreography keeps all 50 cast members moving in excellent sync as they dominate the stage.
Electrified by tiny details such as the roll of a body or the flirty flip of a hand, the number is backed by such rich, solid vocals it's hard to believe the students aren't receiving any professionally recorded back-up.
"Poison Ivy", a do-wop performance also choreographed by a student, five boys manage such a subtle, excellently-timed dance routine that it almost threatens to overwhelm the song. Itching, for example, has never been so rhythmic.
Not that dancing is the most these teens can do. In "Larry, Mo and Curly", a comedic rap performance that sets pratfalls to a hip-hop beat, Aleisha Robbins at one point lifts both Austin and J.C. Hardy off their feet at once.
The Stooges' footwork is no less daring than that in "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That," one of the few numbers choreographed by a professional. In addition to two ballet-worthy leaps and an appropriately attitude-soaked front-and-backflip by Tyson Olcott, the teens' moves are worthy of any music video.
Sometimes, however, the vocals are so impressive that the dancing nearly falls by the wayside. In "Young Blood," another do-wop number, the powerhouse lead vocals of sophomore Seth Jerome are more than enough to make the number shine despite the slightly less crisp choreography.
In "Walk Away," the powerhouse vocals belong to a girl, lead singer Danja Bean. With a rich, mature voice impressive enough to carry a concert, no combination of dance moves can compare.
For those who can tear themselves away from the show long enough to eat, the theater offers a variety of soda-shop appropriate foods including sloppy joes, cheese fries and root beer floats, each for only $2 or less.
Cover charge for the performance is $7, and tickets can be purchased ahead of time by calling 402-4592 and leaving a detailed message that includes the desired date and number of tickets. Tickets must be picked up a day in advance.