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Hello, Dolly! Trollwood’s 40th Mainstage Musical Sneak Peek

We talked with some of the key figures in Trollwood’s 40th Mainstage Musical, Hello, Dolly! We also got a behind-the-scenes look.

Trollwood's Mainstage Musical, Hello, Dolly!

Photos by Hillary Ehlen

We talked with some of the key figures in Trollwood’s 40th Mainstage Musical, Hello, Dolly! We also got a behind-the-scenes look into the preparation.

Hello, Dolly!
July 12-14, 18-21, & 24-28
Bluestem Amphitheater
Buy tickets at

Director Michael Walling on the crew that builds the stage…

“None of us are from around here, believe it or not. We’re all from New York or from somewhere else in the country. Our Scenic and Lighting Designer Jack Mehler is from New York. Everyone here will show up, build the stage and once opening night hits, they’re gone. We just hire them as contractors. I think we only have two local carpenters, but everyone else is from somewhere else. We have someone from Wisconsin, our Scenic Change Artist Terea is from Atlanta too. We’ll house them here and all that, but they’ll only be here until the stage is built.”

Trollwood's Mainstage Musical, Hello, Dolly!

A view of the incomplete stage.

Director Michael Walling on how Trollwood’s mainstage musical is mapped out each year…

“It’s a yearlong process. We’ll be talking about what musical we’ll do next summer very soon here. These kids show up on June 1, but we are preparing long before all of them show up. In the past, we’ve done a lot of Disney musicals that just become available to perform. However, we want to give the students a chance to perform some classic theater too. Hello, Dolly! has been around since 1964 and it’s still being performed on Broadway. Along with those Disney musicals, we want to give our kids a chance to perform classic musicals too.”

Trollwood's Mainstage Musical, Hello, Dolly!

Director Michael Walling’s mock-up of the final stage.
Trollwood's Mainstage Musical, Hello, Dolly!

Scenic Change Artist Terea Abernathy paints a stage staircase.
Trollwood's Mainstage Musical, Hello, Dolly!

Underneath the stage is a workshop where portions of the stage are built.

Costume Designer Jason Resler on his decision to make the costume colors so vibrant…

“Michael (Walling) came to me and said he wanted something summery. When I heard that I thought of those bright green, purple and blue colors. Plus, all of the promotional material has that teal color to it, so I wanted to make it bright. We also wanted to definitely incorporate some red into Dolly’s costume, because it’s very Dolly, the character. If you see other productions of the musical, you’ll see that they choose to make the costumes more modern. The original script actually has the story taking place in 1890 or so and we wanted to adhere to that. Our inspiration was kind of the painted ladies, those old Victorian-style houses. We just wanted to make these costumes different from other productions of this show.”

Trollwood's Mainstage Musical, Hello, Dolly!

Dresses worn during the performance of “Put On Your Sunday Clothes.”
Trollwood's Mainstage Musical, Hello, Dolly!
Completed costume design for Dolly, the main character in the musical.
Trollwood's Mainstage Musical, Hello, Dolly!

Preliminary mock-ups of costume designs.

Executive Director Kathy Anderson on why students come to Trollwood…

“I think a lot of these kids come to Trollwood because they have a passion for theater. I don’t think it matters what kind of musical we are putting on each year, kids just want to perform. They come from their high school theater productions where they audition and rehearse. This is a far more intense process compared to high school productions. I mean, they are setting a lot of things aside to just perform in the summer. Compared to high school, where you are not constantly working on a production, this is very different. And when we go out and see these kids in their high school production the next year, we can see their growth.”

Nolan Schmidt

Written by Nolan Schmidt

Nolan is a Contributing Editor/Writer of Fargo Monthly. He is originally from Bismarck, N.D. and is a proud graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

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