Jared Vasquez sings out a dramatic moment of the show.

Jared Vasquez sings out a dramatic moment of the show.

The lights come up on five white boxes. A young man climbs up onto the center box so that he stands above the rest of the group. He begins to conduct them through a chorus of angelic ‘la la las’ and, all at once, the show is underway.

The Musical Theater Workshop class has combined with the Musical Theater dance class to present a selective production of the musical Nine. The cast includes five main female singers, one male, and a 12-person ensemble of dancers.

Shannon Elliott, the director of the dance department and choreographer of the show, acknowledges this year’s switch from previous Musical Theater Workshop performances.

Director Alaina Zachary sits with Charles the pianist.

Director Alaina Zachary sits with the show’s pianist.

“Music Theater Workshop has usually been reviews in a way, songs from different shows. This feels like a more honed, complete production. It’s just a different take on the class,” Elliott says. “I think that they’ve matured and they have to have an extra certain sophistication… It gives the students the opportunity to rise to the occasion.”

Alaina Zachary, who teaches the Musical Theater Workshop class, has also seen this tremendous growth in each individual from the beginning of the semester.

“People are not only owning their roles, but trying new things. It’s so thrilling because once they take it and run with it, they’re responsible for their own success… I just couldn’t be happier with our results,” Zachary says.

Nine opens with a preview at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 11. Shows are at 7 p.m. Dec. 12-13 as well as 2 p.m., Dec. 13. Tickets for the weekend are free, but must still be obtained through the Lensic box office, 211 West San Francisco St., 999-1234.