NEW ALBANY – It’s not any musical that’s been performed on dozens or even hundreds of other stages.

New Albany High School theater students are among the first to bring “My Fair Lady, School Edition,” to the stage, opening Nov. 8.

“Three schools were chosen to take this new version of the show and basically workshop it,” said director Amy Miller. “It’s a special opportunity for our kids, because they are working with a classic that everyone knows. They’ve taken the original stage version from the late '60s and they’ve made edits, revisions and cuts to the show that’s geared toward a younger group of actors. We’ve been asked to take that script and conceive it our way so that we can see what works and what doesn’t and we can give feedback.”

In addition to being in uncharted territory, a judge will be in the audience one night to decide if the students can take the production to the International Thespian Festival in 2020. The festival features multiple mainstage productions, chosen as the best in the nation, to be performed over a weeklong celebration, according to schooltheatre.org.

“It would mean a lot, so we can prove ourselves as a whole,” said Shelby Brown, who plays the lead Eliza Doolittle.

New Albany isn’t a stranger to performing at the national festival, with about eight shows going in the past, Miller said.

“We haven’t taken a show [to the thespian festival] since I’ve been here and this is my sixth year,” Miller said.

She and her students say they’re ready to show off their skills on the mainstage.

“It’s a really big thing for all of us, not just the fact it’s being adjudicated, but we really started dabbling in the professional setting of musical theater for this show,” said Troy Jones, who plays lead Henry Higgins. “For this show, we have about six costumes each and it’s nonstop craziness backstage. We’ve never had something like this before. It’s how I imagine Broadway to be.”

Jones said not only are costumes elaborate for this production, but the sets and props are also increased from past musicals.

It’s a challenge and that’s what I love the most,” he said. “It’s pushing us, but we’re having fun.”

Also a challenge is putting a show on stage without ever seeing it done before, Jones said.

“We are making this show our own,” he said. “We don’t have a basis. It’s what we’ve created out of it. I can’t imagine it any other way now. It’s what our [theater] family created out of it.”

“It’s really special, because it’s never been done at a high school before, so it makes the experience unique,” Brown said.

Though the name of the musical may sound familiar, audiences will still be in for surprises, especially with the ending, Jones said.

Jones said though he hopes the show is chosen, if it isn’t, he knows the cast did the best they could.

“If we don’t get it, it still has been the most amazing process to have been a part of,” Jones said. “It’s honestly one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had in my high school career.”

For more information or for tickets, go to newalbanytheatrearts.org.

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