Wells Fargo Amphitheater Weeks Away From Opening - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/16/06

Wells Fargo Amphitheater Weeks Away From Opening

Lubbock's newest entertainment venue is now just weeks away from opening. This comes after overcoming nearly seven years of obstacles. The Wells Fargo Next Stage Amphitheater is preparing for its first show.

Here's the history behind the project: it started when voters approved $1.7 million for an amphitheater in 1999. Construction was delayed the next year due to an archeological dig at the proposed building site. Then, another problem came when construction costs turned out to be higher than expected. Private donations rescued the project, and in 2003, crews finally broke ground. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire visited the site and tells us more things are in store.

Construction isn't quite finished, but great things are in the works. NewsChannel 11 learned that a special non-profit production company has been formed specifically to put on musicals at the amphitheater. We take a look at the venue through the eyes of Lubbock Moonlight Production's Director.

Texas Tech Associate Music Professor and Director of Lubbock Moonlight Productions Gerald Dolter had a vision over a year ago, before much of the Wells Fargo Next Stage Amphitheater was constructed. The image he first saw has now come to life.

"The first thing the audience will see when they get here is the prettiest part of Lubbock because they're going to park at the top of the hill and come down the pathway.  They'll see water, they'll see the beautiful meadow behind the stage," said Dolter.

Scenery aside, Dolter had another view. "Immediately I saw family events. I saw more than just a theatrical venue."

Lubbock Moonlight Productions is charged with putting on family musicals specifically for the amphitheater. The first will be the classic "Oklahoma," opening in August.

The $2 million project started nearly seven years ago as an idea on paper, but now it's almost complete. It seats nearly a thousand and the restrooms are the only thing left to build before this year's opening.

The final project to be completed after this year, and that goal is to put a roof over the stage and a dressing room in the back for a pricetag of $350,000.

Also to come are lighting and sound systems, however, Dolter is confident the money for those projects will come.  "I'm convinced when people see what we do here with "Oklahoma," that we'll find resources of funding for the roof and building," said Dolter.

The goal for next summer is to put on three musicals throughout the summer. This year's performance of  "Oklahoma" begins August tenth, tickets go on sale July first.

You can get tickets through Select-A-Seat, Caviel's Pharmacy, Dollar Western Wear, Memphis Place Mall, Ralph's Records, TTU Student Union's ticket booth and United Supermarkets.

For more information you can call (806) 770-2000 or (800) 735-1288.

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