The Wilton Children\u2019s Theater\u2019s fall production of The Wizard of Oz will have a three-show run this weekend, on Friday, Nov. 20, at 7:30, Saturday, Nov. 21, at 4 and Sunday, Nov. 22, at 2, all in the Middlebrook School auditorium, 131 School Road. A cast of 55, grades four through eight, will act in the adaptation of L. Frank Baum\u2019s classic tale. \u201cIt\u2019s completely true to the script,\u201d \u00a0said producer Erica Buse, \u201cwhich follows the movie closely.\u201d \u201cIt\u2019s a faithful representation of the story everyone knows and loves,\u201d added producer Andrea Bates, whose daughter Sarah will play Dorothy. \u201cIf you love the movie, you\u2019ll love the play.\u201d And with large musical numbers such as Over the Rainbow, Munchkinland, If I Only Had a Brain, We\u2019re Off to See the Wizard, The Jitterbug, and The Merry Old Land of Oz, all of the actors and actresses are sure to see lots of stage time. \u201cThis show has a pretty big production footprint,\u201d said director Skip Ploss. \u201cThese numbers are big; you\u2019ll see 40 kid onstage at the same time.\u201d Those planning to attend can expect original costumes and special effects, the latter having required a certain amount of creativity from volunteers at the small nonprofit theater program. \u201cPeople will enjoy to see how we incorporated the tornado,\u201d Buse said, \u201cand how we\u2019ll make the Wicked Witch appear to melt and disappear,\u201d Bates added. A helping hand Director Ploss, though extra busy doubling as set designer, has had some help. For this year\u2019s fall production, 16 10th graders who have aged out of the program have returned as director\u2019s assistants. Everyone, it seems, however, has been helped by someone. \u201cThere\u2019s no way we could have done it without the parent volunteers,\u201d Bates said. And while graduates of the program are not eligible to be director\u2019s assistants until they\u2019ve reached the 10th grade, eighth graders from the winter production will be ushering the performance, and ninth graders will be handling intermission sales. \u201cIt\u2019s a very close-knit family,\u201d Buse said. \u201cEven after they graduate, kids can still come back and be part of the program in a number of ways, and they do.\u201d Rehearsals come to a close According to two of the lead actresses, the production, at this point, is smoothly nearing perfection. \u201cIt\u2019s going well,\u201d said Lilly Casiraghi, who in addition to her lead role as the Wicked Witch of the West will also play Miss Gulch. \u201cMost of the scenes are finished and we\u2019ve been constantly rehearsing our lines.\u201d \u201cIt\u2019s coming together,\u201d echoed Christine Jansen, who plays the Scarecrow and Hunk. \u201cIt\u2019s a great cast.\u201d Casiraghi agreed. \u201cWe all work really well together.\u201d Both Casiraghi and Jansen are eighth graders, making this the last year they will be eligible to perform in Wilton Children\u2019s Theater productions. \u201cWe\u2019re really excited to put on the show, and we hope it\u2019s great, especially since we\u2019ll be leaving,\u201d Casiraghi said. The work that Casiraghi and Jansen and, according to them, every cast member put into this production, is something the stars take pride in. \u201cWe\u2019ve worked really hard,\u201d said Jansen. \u201cEveryone\u2019s been practicing, and at this point, it\u2019s as if we were the real characters.\u201d The actresses have faced some challenges preparing for their roles. Casiraghi had to perfect an eerie cackle to properly play the Wicked Witch, and Jansen, as the Scarecrow, had to find a way to mimic the boneless hay-man\u2019s \u201cfloppy\u201d movements. \u201cIn the beginning, lines were challenging,\u201d Casiraghi said. \u201cBut after a while, they just commit to memory,\u201d Jansen added. All in all, \u201cit\u2019s a really fun show to see,\u201d said Casiraghi. \u201cThere are lots of different characters, all with different makeup and costuming, and it\u2019s just fun to watch.\u201d Ploss is thrilled with the efforts of everyone involved with the Children\u2019s Theater\u2019s fall production, but what he takes most reward from is seeing the children he has come to know realize their potentials. \u201cI love seeing fourth or fifth graders who maybe are shy, and scared to death of performing on stages, by the end of their time at the Children\u2019s Theater having lead roles, and blossoming into their true selves. It really is an amazing program. I think all kids should do theater,\u201d Ploss said. \u201cIt\u2019s going to be fun,\u201d he continued. \u201cYou\u2019re going to hear songs you\u2019re familiar with, sung and danced with lots of energy, but mostly, you\u2019re getting to see fruits of the labors of 55 talented young actors.\u201d Other volunteers involved are musical director Barbara Speare, choreographer Judy Abbatiello, costume designers Jennifer McNamara and Jennifer Kepner, and sets by Jessica Carney DeLuca and Kara Williams. Information The Wilton Children\u2019s Theater is an independent nonprofit organization that provides the children of Wilton with a theatrical experience, helping them to develop acting skills, stage presence and self-esteem. It offers two 10-week productions during the school year for children between grades four and eight. Tickets may be purchased at the door with cash or check one hour before each performance. Prior to production weekend, tickets may be purchased in person with cash or check at the Village Market, Nov. 16-20 from noon to 2, and at Middlebrook School Nov. 16-19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Purchasing in person allows for the selection of specific seats. Tickets are also available for purchase online at WiltonChildrensTheater.org.\/Tickets. Tickets are $12 each when purchased in person and $12.60 when bought online. Information: WiltonChildrensTheater.org.