The oldest local community theater company in Orange County, now sporting a new look in its lobby and restrooms, is getting ready to lift the curtain on its 52nd season.

That would be the Westminster Community Theatre, which began producing in 1961 and occupied three different venues until its present location at 7272 Maple Ave. in Westminster was completed in 1974. (I've performed or directed at all of them.)

Getting the 2012-13 season off and running will be a familiar entry, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," ticketed from July 13 to 28. This quirky musical comedy — postponed from last season due to the renovations — focuses on several "different" kids as they battle in a school spelldown. Kirk Larson will direct.

Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" will be the fare from Sept. 7 to 22, under the direction of S.H. Wiggs Jr., who's setting the "battle of the sexes" comedy in the heart of Chicago. One of the Bard's more popular chucklers, "Much Ado" focuses on the stormy relationship of two people who presumably hate each other but, naturally, end up together.

There is "Proof" of David Auburn's 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner's popularity: its production by three other local theaters. WCT will mount the math-themed drama from Nov. 2 to 17, with Lenore Stjerne directing.

Westminster has staged two comedies about the rural Futrelle sisters in Texas. Now comes the final chapter, "Southern Hospitality," which Greg Z. Newcomb will direct, from Jan. 11 to 26. The story concerns the sisters' campaign to save their hometown of Fayro, Texas, and should be farcically appealing.

The next slot, from March 8 to 23, is open, but the theater hopes to fill it soon with a new comedy, yet to be announced. Performance rights are pending. Stay tuned.

Finally, WCT will present a comedy that's a personal favorite of mine: Bernard Slade's "Same Time, Next Year." It's the now-familiar story of two married people who meet once a year for a romantic interlude. Karla Franklin will direct the show, which will play from May 17 to June 1.

Season tickets are being offered at an even $100 for general admission and $90 for senior citizens. Contact the theater's new reservation number, (714) 893-8626, for additional information.

TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Independent.