Having reached the milestone of its 50th season, the Westminster Community Theater is making plans for its 51st, which will get underway next month.

Things will get started on a prestigious note with a play that won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award back in 1977. That would be Michael Cristofer's "The Shadow Box," set in a hospice and focusing on three terminally ill patients.

Lenore Stjerne, president of WCT, is directing this heavy drama laced with tension-breaking humor, which contains adult subject matter and language. "The Shadow Box" opens July 15 and plays through July 30.

Things lighten up a bit in September when the theater revives Noel Coward's "Hay Fever," a comedy centering on an eccentric family of four, each of whom invites a guest for the weekend.

Coward's concoction will be directed by Patricia Miller and will be staged from Sept. 9 to 24.

Ringing in the holiday season will be "Christmas Belles," the final installment in a trilogy featuring the Futrelle Sisters. A church Christmas program gone awry reunites the feuding sisters.

Greg Z. Newcomb will be in the director's chair for this comedy, which is scheduled to run from Nov. 4 to 19.

Ken Ludwig's "Leading Ladies" already has been staged at Golden West College and the Huntington Beach Playhouse. It'll make its way to Westminster for a Jan. 13 to 28 engagement.

This comedy about two English actors dressing in drag to claim a fortune will be directed by Tom Mynar.

Another local favorite, which has entertained audiences in Costa Mesa and, currently, in Newport Beach, is "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." It'll be on the Westminster boards from March 9 to 24.

Kirk Larson is directing this musical farce about contentious kids competing in a spelldown and breaking into song at the drop of a complicated word.

Wrapping up the 51st season will be a return visit from Agatha Christie, whose "The Mousetrap" was part of the 50th. This time it's "The Hollow," a classic whodunit set at the home of British gentry.

Brandon Ferruccio will be directing the Christie mystery, which will unfold from May 18 through June 2.

Performances will be given at the Westminster Community Theater, 7272 Maple St., Westminster. Additional information may be obtained by calling the theater between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. at (714) 527-5546.

TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Independent.