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Colo. high school launches "Balloon Boy" the musical

LOUISVILLE, Colo. - Not to inflate the story of a boy and his balloon beyond what it was, but it seemed only a matter of time before someone set an incident with this much hot air to music, reports CBS Denver.

Student thespians at Monarch High School in Louisville will perform "Balloon Boy The Musical" this weekend.

Richard Heene and Falcon in 2009 CBS News

It's a nod to the real-life story of Richard Heene, a Fort Collins man who feared his 6-year-old son crawled into his homemade, UFO-shaped hot-air balloon in 2009 before it accidentally sailed away, led police and media on a chase across Colorado's skies, and shut down Denver's airport.

(Spoiler alert: The boy, Falcon, was not inside the weather balloon and law enforcement later suggested the ordeal was a hoax.)

A nation was transfixed over whether a young boy was inside this balloon. He wasn't. CBS News

"Everybody heard about it," Billy Recce, the playwright and a high school senior in New York, said. "Everyone was glued to their TVs."

He said he vividly recalls watching the drama live on TV with his mom. The range of emotions he said people felt -- "the shock in the beginning, the horror, the tears, and then there was the anger with the hoax" -- prompted him to write.

"There was a lot of comedy in it too, to be honest," Recce, 16, said. "I think that's what really drew me to this story, this wide range of emotions, especially the humor in it. And I think it was something that needed to be joked about for people to accept it, so I think that's really why I wanted to steer it into a musical-comedy direction."

WEB EXTRA: Meet The Balloon Boy Playwright

He began working on the story when he was in seventh grade -- and it had a "seventh-grade kind of feel" to it, he said. But it matured with more adult themes over the past several years.

Billy Recce CBS News

He told his parents to prepare for a preposterous story: "I just said, 'Now this is a musical and before I tell you what it's about, just know it's supposed to be ridiculous.' "

Recce entered his opening number, "Follow Your Dreams," into Thespian Musicalworks, a competition in Lincoln, Neb. Representatives from Monarch met Recce at the festival and asked to stage his creation.

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