If you like stories about underdogs and unsung heroes, you’ll love "Silent Sky."

Lauren Gunderson’s drama focuses on the life of 20th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, who changed the way we see the universe. But despite her monumental discoveries, Leavitt remains largely unknown.

The Lees-McRae Theatre Arts program will tell Leavitt’s story later this month in their production of Silent Sky. The play will be performed Feb. 21–23 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. in Hayes Auditorium and Broyhill Theatre.

When Leavitt began working at Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she wasn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she and her fellow women “computers” were expected to chart the stars and do the math for their boss — a renowned male astronomer who had no time for women’s theories. Nevertheless, Leavitt persisted, and her discoveries changed the way we understand the heavens.

“Silent Sky is about finding and fighting for your place in the world,” said Joshua Yoder, assistant professor of Theatre Arts and director of Silent Sky. “What’s really important? How do we know we matter? How do we make a difference? These are the questions that Leavitt struggles with.”

The play depicts Leavitt’s quest to measure the light and distance of the stars. But she must also try to take measure of her life on earth, balancing her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love.

“It’s a true story about scientific discovery, but at heart, it’s about our need for connection and meaning,” Yoder said. “It’s funny, warm, and thought-provoking.”

The small, tight-knit cast includes theatre students Sabrina Becker, Katie Birks-Kilman, Taylor Noll, Andrew Sargent and Elise Wright. Sarah Wilson is stage managing the production and is assisted by Kathleen Farrell.

Silent Sky is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. The play is rated PG.

All performances are in Hayes Auditorium and Broyhill Theatre on the Lees-McRae campus. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students. All seating is general admission.

Tickets may be purchased online at https://www.lmc.edu/academics/programs/theatre-arts/calendar.htm or at the door one hour prior to showtime.

For more information, call the Lees-McRae Box Office at (828) 898-8709 or visit lmc.edu/theatreshows.