Hays Community Theatre will open its winter production, “Little Women” on Friday night at 12th Street Auditorium.

While HCT has frequently produced a Christmas-themed show, this year is a bit different.

“We wanted to try something different,” HCT board member Wendy Richmeier said. “We wanted to try a play, a classic that everybody knows, that we could incorporate some adults and some kids and maybe not always have a Christmas show but more a winter production.”

It also happens to be the 150th anniversary of Louisa May Alcott’s novel of the somewhat autobiographical story of the four March sisters coming of age during the Civil War.

The show does have a bit of a Christmas feel, however, director Meredith Cory said. The first act starts in Christmas 1863 and ends a year later.

Cory said reading the script brought back memories, and said she thinks the audience will experience the same.

“I’ll be honest, it’s been a very long time since I read the book. It was probably middle school when I read it,” she said.

“I really enjoyed the script when I was reading it. There’s so many memories. It’s a beautiful piece,” she said.

With 41 people auditioning, it was difficult to narrow down the cast to 21, she said.

“It was a big audition. It was tough trying to select the cast members who are on stage now,” she said.

“We had a lot of kids. I wish we could have utilized everybody, but with it being a play, it’s trickier because there’s only so many spots,” she said.

The cast and crew began dress rehearsals at 12th Street Auditorium just Tuesday night after setting up the stage Monday.

“The cast has been doing a phenomenal job. They want to present it to the community and make it their own,” Cory said.