Park Square Theatre, founded as an 80-seat walk-up in 1975 before relocating in 1997 to the historic Hamm building, broke single-show attendance and box-office records with its production of "The Color Purple."
The show, which closed Feb. 15, sold 11,178 tickets and grossed $285,457, the St. Paul playhouse reported.
"Ragtime," produced in 2012, had held the record with 8,715 patrons and a gross take of $267,476.
Equally significant in reporting the numbers, the company said about 35 percent of the "Color Purple" audience were patrons of color. The comparable number for "Ragtime" was 26 percent.
"With the two stages, we really want to diversify the range of stories we tell," said executive director C. Michael-jon Pease. "We want to be of more service to more artists, and to be more relevant to our audiences. And we want to be inclusive, from the board to the box office."
This new mission repositions the company, which for years deferred to Penumbra Theatre on major African-American works. Park Square now has made inclusion a major goal for the next five years of programming, Pease said.
"The success of 'The Color Purple' is gratifying because this was a major statement to say this is our type of show too," Pease said.
The show had a cast of 19 and cost $275,000 to mount — the largest production in Park Square's history. Lewis Whitlock directed some of the biggest names in Twin Cities theater — T. Mychael Rambo, Regina Marie Williams, Aimee Bryant, Dennis Spears and Thomasina Petrus.
Park Square has a $3.4 million annual budget and is in the first year of programming two theaters — the 350-seat proscenium and the 200-seat Andy Boss Thrust Stage.
The theater is hoping to boost annual ticket sales to 90,000 to 100,000 — up from about 65,000 in each of the past five years.