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J. Shane Mercer, Published June 24 2009

Trollwood first-day ticket sales surpass last year's

File it in the “If you build it, they will come” folder.

Trollwood Performing Arts School opened its box office Monday, and Trollwood Audience Development Associate Jennifer Collins said this year’s first-day box-office sales topped last year’s first-day cash intake by more than 550 percent. … That’s in terms of dollars.

In terms of tickets, Trollwood Box Office Manager Whitney Frahm said the box office sold 590 tickets Monday compared to about 120 tickets opening day last year.

This season’s main-stage musical, “The Wiz,” opens July 15 and will be the first produced at Trollwood’s new multimillion-dollar facility in south Moorhead.

“We were happy with last year’s sales, and we’re ecstatic about the community excitement to see the Trollwood kids at the new Imagine Theatre this year,” said TPAS Executive Director Vicki Chepulis.

As to the reason for the robust sales figures, Collins pointed to the draw of the new site and the appeal that Trollwood shows have traditionally enjoyed.

Along with “The Wiz,” tickets for Trollwood shows “HONK! Junior” and the Second Stage production “The Strange Misadventures of Patty” were also on sale Monday, though most of the sales came via tickets for “The Wiz.”

“HONK! Junior” is part of a program that is new to Trollwood and accounted for 138 of the tickets sold on opening day. There was no corresponding program last year. First-day box- office sales in 2008 were based only on the main stage and Second Stage productions.

Collins said the capacity for each show is 2,250, with some wiggle room, and she believes it’s possible that “The Wiz” could sell out. But she also said officials don’t yet know if the strong showing is a trend.

“The Wiz” will run at Trollwood July 15-18, 22-26, and July 29 through Aug. 2. For ticket information, call (218) 477-6502.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734