MOORHEAD — After a silent stage during the pandemic last summer, the amphitheater at Bluestem is sold out for the Trollwood Performing Arts School opening night Wednesday, July 14.
With hours to go before opening night, the cast of "Cinderella" stretched and warmed up for their last rehearsal, the cast and crew were fresh off an overnight dress rehearsal at Trollwood.
The fact that, 18-year-old Avery Moxness of West Fargo is there playing the role of a step-sister in is a medical miracle.
Moxness says she has suffered migraines for years. Doctors weren't able to do much until an eye doctor discovered a huge red flag.
"They took a picture of my eyes and there was swelling," Moxness said. "They sent me to the ER, and we found the tumor."
The Sheyenne High School senior went through a rollercoaster of emotions.
"They scrolled through the scans and there was this huge tumor," Moxness said. "I looked at my parents right away and I was like, 'Don't worry, I will be fine.'"
A journey of surgery and treatments all led back to the stage. An accomplished actress and singer, Moxness knew she had to get back to the stage and perform.
"I was always, 'I don't have time for this brain cancer,'" Moxness said. "It was frustrating, but I am glad I powered through everything right away and got back here."
Those who have watched her at Trollwood over the years are not surprised to see her in the performance of her life, months after surviving brain tumor surgery.
"Her love and enthusiasm for the arts, (and) passion for theater comes out when she is on stage," said Trollwood Performing Arts School Executive Director Kathy Anderson.
For Moxness, it just feels right.
"The little things don't matter that as much when I can still do this and be happy and be myself," Moxness said.
While opening night is sold out, tickets are still available for all other performances through July 31.