The 1978 musical 'Runaways' returns to the New York boards for four-nights only. NY1’s Frank DiLella filed the following preview.

City Center has gone to the youth, and they are not holding back with expressing themselves.

The revue-style show "Runaways" kicks off the annual Encores! Off-Center series, dedicated to highlighting off-Broadway musicals. Tony winning composer Jeanine Tesori is the artistic director and helped create this City Center summer tradition. 2016 marks her last year serving as leader.

"I actually took this job based on my desire to do ‘Runaways.’ 300 kids auditioned for it," Tesori says.

"Runaways" shines a spotlight on inner-city youth. The musical was created by theater visionary Elizabeth Swados. The show debuted at The Public Theater in early 1978 and it transferred to Broadway later that spring.  Swados passed away in January after a battle with esophageal cancer. Director Sam Pinkleton studied under Swados and says he carries her vision and voice with him for this updated version of "Runaways.”

"To hand everything over to young people - to say 'This is your city’ to an audience, to say, 'This is the future of your city’ to an audience - that feels like a reason to do "Runaways" now," Pinkleton says.

The cast features 25 performers from all five boroughs  Included in that group is trans performer MJ Rodriguez, who says the take away from "Runaways" goes far beyond what's written on the page.

"We know who we are and it doesn't matter what anybody else says if we know who we are," Rodriguez says.

"Runaways" is set to play at City Center from July 6 - 9.