Music and theater students at Fort Hays State University have been busy rehearsing for the highly anticipated fall performance of the ’80s classic, Footloose — the first theater production of the school year.

Shows are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Felten-Start Theater in FHSU’s Malloy Hall.

The familiar storyline reflects the life of an energetic, young boy from Chicago whose father has abandoned him. He and his mother relocate to Belmont, Okla., where years before, four teenagers were killed coming home from a dance.

“Dancing has been outlawed in the town; it’s illegal,” said musical director Terry Crull of the story. “So, because he can’t stand still, he gets in trouble by trying to say they should dance.”

The fun story exhibits familiar music with great singing and a lot of action, according to Crull.

“Footloose probably has about eight songs that people will know,” he said. “This is a pretty big dance show.”

The group has been rehearsing continuously for approximately four weeks, since school first started.

“This show has been on my radar for a while,” said Tomme Williams, director. “I was excited to choose it.”

Williams said after looking at the students she had, she knew it would be an exceptional showcase.

“It was a perfect fit,” she said. “This is one of the best casts I’ve worked with; they’ve made a lot of progress and I think it will be a successful show.”

Roxanne Shea, who helped stage the dances, said she was impressed with how quickly the students learned the choreography.

“I didn’t realize how much intricacy there was in the songs,” Shea said. “These kids have put in a lot of work.”

The cast is ready to hit the stage for an audience and showcase the product of all the rehearsal time they’ve put in.

“We’re the sort of cast that gets together and talks about our characters, and I’m just excited to make a solid production,” said FHSU senior L.J. Kemper, who plays Reverend Shaw Moore in the show. “It’s going to be highly entertaining — a very different show than we’ve ever done.”

Callan Rice, FHSU junior who plays Ariel in the show, said she is most excited to get the audience involved while showcasing the many songs and dances they have learned.

“Past shows have been a little more formal and this one is a lot more fun, upbeat and relaxed,” she said. “I think it’s probably going to bring the inner child out in everyone; they will just want to have fun and dance.”

• To purchase tickets in advance, contact the box office at (785) 628-4225 between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Tickets are also available at the door.