Lizzie Borden delivered her alleged whacks 120 years ago — but there’s something that remains fascinating about this blood-spattered Victorian drama of familial resentment and murder. “The fact that people still talk about her makes the topic interesting,” said Victoria Bussert, director of the music theatre department at Baldwin-Wallace College. “[It] was the mystery and trial of the decade.” Capitalizing on that appeal, the next play to take the stage at Playhouse Square’s 14th Street Theatre will be “Lizzie Borden,” directed by Bussert. The rock musical, written by Tim Maner, Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, features a four-character cast and a score that far outstrips that old singsongy “gave her mother 40 whacks” number. Think hard rock punctuated by the kind of axe that’s not a guitar. Bussert was drawn to the show in other projects before bringing it to the college. “I was on the new-musical selection committee for the National Alliance for Music Theatre, [and] this was my top choice for their festival in New York,” she said. “I directed that presentation. The musical is darkly humorous — a very loud rock score.” The score, in fact, is inspired by a wide range of rock legends, from ’70s shredders like Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper and Kiss to generations of strong, hard-cutting women rockers like Heart, Patti Smith, The Runaways, Joan Jett and Lita Ford. Which makes sense, since the cast is made up entirely of women. Characters include Lizzie herself; her sister, Emma; a neighbor, Alice; and Carrie Cimma, the Bordens’ Irish maid. “We want it loud, sexy, bloody, angry, creepy, funny, rebellious and thoroughly entertaining,” wrote the playwrights in a joint release. The 14th Street Theatre production is the result of a collaboration between the Baldwin-Wallace music theatre program and the staff at Playhouse Square. “The partnership between Baldwin-Wallace and Playhouse Square gives students in the arts-management program an opportunity to work in the professional arts world,” said Jared Hunter, a Baldwin-Wallace senior who’s assisted in marketing the musical. Fourteen students from all four years are involved in the show, from eight actors (divided into two casts, called “Axe” and “Blood,” for different performances) and stage managers to those responsible for marketing, operations and education. “The marketing team of ‘Lizzie Borden’ and myself have developed a strategy to contact magazines, newspapers, radio, and television broadcasts,” said Hunter. “We also plan to promote the musical on Baldwin-Wallace College campus by creating T-shirts and allow for ticket sales to students.” “The students bring great enthusiasm and energy to all their work — they love the rock score of this show,” said Bussert. “Rock and violence are an ideal fit!” The story doesn’t spend time deliberating over Borden’s guilt. Instead, it proceeds exuberantly from the Borden legend, the gory crime of her hacked-up father and stepmother, and deliciously disturbing details of the case, like the decapitated pigeons that police found near the house. (“Why Are All These Heads Off?” is one of the musical numbers.) “I think that ‘Lizzie Borden’ can appeal to a wide variety of people, whether it be someone who enjoys a good murder mystery or likes hard rock,” said Hunter. Except for one demographic: children. The (self-explanatory) bloodstained violence of the story line, along with some adult themes, means that the performance is not recommended for young families. “There will be a lot of blood,” warned Neil Fullerton, also part of the production’s student management team. “Very bloody, with a really strong rock ’n’ roll score. The writers wanted to have a rock concert turned into an epic theatrical show. Expect loud headbanging music with a lot of guts and glory.” The play will run March 30 through April 1, with two performances on March 31. Tickets, which run from $10 to $20, can be purchased via the Playhouse Square website (playhousesquare.org) or by phone at 216-241-6000.