On the short list of things to love about February, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School musical stands out each year like aurora borealis across a dark winter sky: colorful, breathtaking and always too brief.

Just in time to extend the Mardi Gras season, the show is back again, from Feb. 15 to Feb. 18. This year, the school’s performing arts department presents a lively interpretation of Twelfth Night that supercharges Shakespeare’s lyrical comedy with singing, dancing and improvisation.

In contrast to the louche, sexually-charged world of last year’s musical, Chicago, with its tales of bloodshed and exploitation, Twelfth Night takes place in the imaginary port of Illyria, whose none-too-smart inhabitants ricochet between mourning, merry-making and mad infatuation as the plot unfolds.

Islanders who caught the rustic Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse production of Twelfth Night at the Tisbury Amphitheatre last summer will see — and hear — a very different Illyria at the performing arts center.

Conceived by British actor-playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah, with music and lyrics by American singer-composer Shaina Taub — whose adaptation of As You Like It was the school’s 2019 musical — the show opens with a slow-stepping jazz funeral and continues with a score that draws largely from funk and jazz.

The set, from a design by Mac Young, includes a covered balcony reminiscent of New Orleans as well as a portable toilet on wheels that plays a short but pivotal part of its own.

Left to right: Alexandra Turner, Jason Boudreau, Jack Tully, Aiden Weiland — Mark Alan Lovewell

Brooke Hardman Ditchfield directs the cast of more than two dozen young actors, many of whom have worked with her since the beginning of their high school careers.

“Brooke inducted me into her Shakespeare love when I was a freshman here, so I’m very happy to be doing this,” said senior and “self-professed Shakespeare geek” Jack Tully, who plays the buffoonish Sir Toby Belch.

Playing a character written more than 400 years ago was something new for senior Alexandra Turner, who appears as the crafty housekeeper Maria.

“I’d never done any Shakespeare before, [but] I love the language. It’s really fun,” Ms. Turner told the Gazette after rehearsal Tuesday afternoon.

Senior Emma Burt, who plays the leading role of Olivia, agreed.

“This is so much fun, to convey emotions through language that’s so antiquated,” she said. “I was surprised at how easy it is to stay modern.”

Both Ms. Burt and senior Samuel Hines, who plays the lovesick Orsino, credited Ms. Hardman Ditchfield with bringing the Elizabethan language and characters alive for them.

Gabriella Silveira and Tatum Thomas. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“A lot of us haven’t had exposure to Shakespeare before,” said Mr. Hines, who transferred to the Vineyard from Los Angeles midway through his high school career and also sings with the National Children’s Chorus of the United States.

“There’s a lot of underlying connotation that you’re not necessarily aware of when you’re first reading the script,” he said.

“Brooke does such a good job of helping us know what we’re saying,” Ms. Burt added.

Senior Tatum Thomas, who plays the quizzical jester Feste, said what she loves most about her role is the chance to improvise.

“When you’re a pre-scripted character, it limits you a lot, but jesters and fools have a lot of creative liberty,” she said. “I can go talk to the audience.”

Shakespeare’s Feste does a little singing in the original play, but Ms. Thomas gets to lead nearly the entire cast in You’re the Worst, a rollicking round robin of insults that leaves no character unroasted.

Also starring in Twelfth Night, Gabriella Silveira plays the key role of Viola and Huck Moore is Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Sir Toby’s ne’er-do-well crony.

Emma Burt (left) and Alexandra Turner (right). — Mark Alan Lovewell

Aiden Weiland, who appeared as the servant Fabian in last summer’s production, returns in this show as the pretentious major-domo Malvolio. A baritone with a flair for tap-dancing, Mr. Weiland is likely to bring down the house with his song Count Malvolio, an old-fashioned Broadway-style number complete with a kick line.

“This show’s just a blast,” Mr. Weiland said, crediting choreographer Ken Romero for directing the numbers and coaching him in tap.

A live band in the center of the stage, conducted by high school band teacher Stephanie Aurenz, backs up the singers and adds musical color to the entire production — in one hilarious instance, a rhythmic reference to Napoleon IV’s novelty single They’re Coming to Take Me Away is heard as Olivia falls madly in love.

Performances of Twelfth Night are at 7 p.m. Feb. 15, Feb. 16 and Feb. 17 and 2 p.m. Feb. 18. Tickets are available at the door for $10, $5 for students.