CHATHAM, NJ - If the actual play goes as well as the back-stage production, the "Wizard of Oz" at the Chatham Middle School is going to be a guaranteed hit.

On Saturday, volunteers gathered at the Chatham Middle School and rolled up their sleeves to help create props and paint them for the CMS production of the Wizard of Oz that will open Jan. 31 and also can be seen on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2. 

Chatham parent Janine Vecciarelli organized the schedule for volunteers and she reported that the two-hour slots filled up quickly with about 50 participants.

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"People remember that we painted the set last year and they were looking forward to doing it again," Chatham handyman and set designer Jean-Eudes Haeringer said.

Haeringer, who also designed and built the set for the CMS production of Willy Wonka Jr., is promising a few surprises for the audience at the Wizard of Oz, but he's keeping those close to the vest. 

"The special effects are going to be amazing," Jason Stiles, play director and English teacher at CMS, said. "I think it's going to be a really great production. The kids have worked really hard and parents are pitching in a lot. I'm really proud of the show. All the teachers, designers and directors have put in a lot of effort. We held auditions in September and started rehearsing the first week of October."

Stiles noted that there will be a live orchestra for music and sound effects created by Dan Graziano. Kenneth Bryson, director of choral activities at CHS, will lead the orchestra.