By Kathy Collins

The Village Players will present the timeless classic The Wizard of Oz beginning with their now famous Dinner Theater on Friday, July 31 at 7 p.m. Cost to attend the Dinner Theater Premiere is $25. Seats are limited so call 643-8292 or 480-3147 to reserve a seat.

Regular show dates include Saturday, August 1; Friday, August 7; Saturday, August 8; Friday, August 14 and Saturday, August 15. All shows will begin at 8 p.m. The Village Players will also present two matinees at 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 2 and 9.

The cost to attend one of the regular shows is $15 for general admission; $13 for students, seniors and military with ID; and $12 for groups of 10 or more.

According to Producer Gail Pierce, “The Wizard of Oz is an old classic musical. We chose the summer to produce this show to incorporate as many young aspiring actors as possible. The munchkins, jitter bugs and monkeys, as well as other parts, are played by young actors in our community. Some of them have had previous acting experience and some are first timers. The classic characters roles are filled by veteran actors.”

Pierce added, “Our mission is twofold. On one side we work hard to offer our patrons good, affordable theater and entertainment. On the other side, we give residents an opportunity to be on stage by teaching those who want to learn the art of acting. We also offer an opportunity to create sets and costumes, run lights or sound or just simply help out with a hammer or a paint brush.”

The Wizard of Oz is directed by Todd Barber who affectionately calls the cast and crew his dream team.

“The talent in this show is quite high,” said Barber.

He anticipates this to be one of the best productions.

“We have some surprises for our audience, and we believe they will be pleased. Come and see this wonderful show; you won’t regret it,” added Barber.

The Village Players hold their productions in the historic James McCabe Theater located at 506 5th St. in Valrico. The building is celebrating 100 years this year and is in desperate need of repairs and renovations.

For more information, visit www.thevillageplayersvalrico.com.