With 2013 being the Year of the Arts in Westerville, organizers want residents to be able to dabble in all aspects of the arts.

With 2013 being the Year of the Arts in Westerville, organizers want residents to be able to dabble in all aspects of the arts.

As the year's events calendar took shape, however, Year of the Arts organizers realized that theater was something that was lacking from the lineup.

Organizers contacted Otterbein University's theater department for help coordinating a community theater performance. Otterbein recruited the help of Matt Wolfe, who was then a theatre director in Hilliard and now serving as the administrative assistant for the university's theater and dance department.

"I said, 'I would love to do it, as long as we do The Wizard of Oz. And they said, 'Well, that's what we're doing,' " Wolfe said.

From there, Wolfe, in the role of co-director, and others at Otterbein worked to get the details of the community play hashed out.

Many of the key players have Otterbein ties: The choreographer is an alumnus, a student will serve as stage manager and the scenery and music direction will be handled by professors, Wolfe said.

Now, what is needed are community members to step up to fill the roles, from Toto to the Tin Man to Auntie Em, Wolfe said.

"It's a special thing. I think there's been some confusion: 'Is this an Otterbein play?' But it's not. It's a Westerville community thing," Wolfe said.

The goal, Wolfe said, is to take advantage of Otterbein's expertise and resources to provide community members with a genuine theatrical experience that will provide new actors to get their feet wet in an educational environment and allow more experience performers to grow.

"The emphasis of this production, while we do want to put on a great show ... it will be an environment where they can learn more about theater," Wolfe said.

"We hope that this won't just be a standard community theater production. We want them to go away feeling like they've become a better performer or learned more about theater through the production."

People of all ages are encouraged to audition, as Wolfe would like to cast actors in age-appropriate roles, with younger kids cast as munchkins, high school- or college-age actors as Dorothy and her cohorts, and adults as Auntie Em, Uncle Henry and the witches.

"We're looking for all age groups. One of our charges for this show is (we) really want to make this a Year for the Arts, and arts are good and appropriate to people of all ages," Wolfe said. "I would love to get some families, some moms and dads and then they bring their kids and make it a family experience."

Auditions will be held, by appointment, on April 27. Performances will be from Aug. 2 to 4 at Westerville Central High School.

There is a $125 participation fee for actors, though scholarships will be awarded as needed.

There also will be volunteer opportunities for people who are interested in participating in the production but who do not want to perform, Wolfe said.

Anyone interested in auditioning for or participating in the production can contact Wolfe at 614-823-1657 or mtwolfe@otterbein.edu.