Familiar faces will crop up this weekend in a community production of The Wizard of Oz.
The community theater production, coordinated by Otterbein University in recognition of 2013 as the Year of the Arts within Westerville, will be performed at 7 p.m. Aug. 2, 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 3, and 2 p.m. Aug. 4 at Westerville Central High School, 7117 Mount Royal Ave.
Tickets are $10 and are being sold in advance at the Westerville Community Center, 350 N. Cleveland Ave.
"It's community theater at its best. I think (the audience is) going to see some of their neighbors there; they're going to see some of the people they see on the street and find out what their talent really is," said Westerville Recreation Operation Superintendent Phyllis Self.
The casting call for the production received a strong response, as the play features an 85-member cast, with actors ranging in age from 5 to 76.
"We were hoping for this many people because it's one of those shows that you can have an unlimited cast. You can have as many munchkins as will fit on stage," said Self, who will appear as the Wicked Witch and her counterpart, Miss Gulch.
The cast has been rehearsing since June, Self said, and all has gone smoothly.
Organizers particularly are pleased with the number of families that have turned out to participate, as well as the mix of actors, who range from novice to experienced.
Self said she credits the two directors, Matt Wolfe and Luke Bovenizer, with the ease of the production.
"Everything's gone really smoothly, and I think that has to do with the talent of our two directors," Self said. "They have so much patience. It is just unbelievable."
Another highlight of the production has been the number of families joining the cast together, Self said.
The play has been a great way to bring families together, she said, citing the example of one father who is acting with his children while his wife runs the lighting board.
"He said the reason he wanted to be in the show was that when he was young, he did the same sort of thing with his family and with his parents," Self said. "He wanted to make sure that his children got that same sort of opportunity."
Organizers have been so pleased with the enthusiasm for a community theater production, Self said, that planning already has begun for a show next year.
Self said she wouldn't reveal any secrets until the city receives the rights to put on the selected show, but she promised another well-known musical production.