DPAC Caps 2017-18 Season with Record Sellouts

With a record-high 130 sellout performances, DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center) closed its successful 2017/2018 season after entertaining almost 490,000 guests.

In DPAC’s tenth season of operations under the direction of Nederlander and PFM, the theater held 219 events with a total attendance of 488,900 guests. DPAC sold out 130 performances, the venue’s best ever for a season.

In addition to presenting so many successful superstar shows and national touring events, DPAC participated in a wide array of community outreach activities this past season including:

Hosting special events like Sip + Savor, Bull City Food and Beer Experience, and Nashville Songwriters at DPAC which collectively raised more than $38,000 for local Durham non-profit organizations including Keep Durham Beautiful, Kidznotes, Voyager Academy and The North Carolina Boy’s Academy. In addition, DPAC donated hundreds of tickets for fundraising events for local nonprofits and charities.

Coordinating educational outreach events with casts and crews from touring Broadway productions. These master classes included students in Durham Public Schools and a few Durham arts organizations, such as Empower Dance Studio and Kidznotes, where students were able to work directly with touring Broadway professionals, a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

DPAC’s ticket donation programs also include DPAC’s Discover Broadway where donated tickets provide the opportunity for students and their parents to experience their first-ever Broadway performance. These special opportunities are offered to the Durham Public Schools and student/mentor teams in their Partners for Youth Opportunity. In addition, DPAC’s Golden Ticket offered tickets to seniors living in Durham public housing complexes.

Presenting Triangle Rising Stars, the regional competition that is part of the National High School Musical Theater Awards. In its eighth year at DPAC, this program grew to new heights with 40 schools and 150 students participating from the Triangle and surrounding areas, including C.E. Jordan High School, Hillside High School, Durham School of the Arts and Voyager Academy.

DPAC Places among Nation’s Top Theaters in National Attendance Rankings

While Triangle publications and organizations have consistently rated DPAC as the region’s best venue for live entertainment, the theater also has been nationally highlighted as one of the country’s most highly-attended venues.

For DPAC’s just completed 12 month season (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018), DPAC ranks third among theaters as tracked by national entertainment trade magazine Pollstar. This top-five ranking places DPAC in some exclusive company and among much larger theaters in major markets including Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY (Capacity: 6,015), Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA (Capacity: 4,665), Zappos Theatre at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, NV (Capacity: 7,000) and the Smart Financial Centre outside of Houston TX (Capacity: 6,000).

This season continued the showcasing of high-profile Broadway, concert and comedy events that has made DPAC North Carolina’s definitive center for live entertainment. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera – which returned to Durham as part of a brand new North American Tour – topped the list of DPAC’s highest-attended Broadway shows this season. Les Misérables, still the world’s most popular musical, came in second, followed by the new Broadway hit Waitress the Musical, which features original music and lyrics by Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles.

Top Five Shows – Broadway at DPAC 2017/2018*
1. The Phantom of the Opera
2. Les Misérables
3. Waitress the Musical
4. Disney’s Little Mermaid
5. The Color Purple
*July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

DPAC presented a total of 219 events this season including concerts, comedy shows and special events. Indie folk band Bon Iver was the top-selling concert, followed by soulful songstress Anita Baker, the eight-time Grammy winner who came to DPAC as part of her farewell concert tour; and David Byrne, who performed new songs, classics from his solo career, and hits from his days with the Talking Heads.

Comedy legend Jerry Seinfeld led a strong season of comedy at DPAC that also featured stand-up shows from Gabriel Iglesias and Joe Rogan. Top-selling special events included Neil deGrasse Tyson, Dancing with the Stars and Hip Hop Nutcracker.

Top Fifteen Concert Events – 2017/2018 Season*

1. Bon Iver
2. Anita Baker
3. David Byrne
4. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
5. Diana Krall
6. Smokey Robinson
7. Patti LaBelle
8. Yanni
9. Maze
10. The Temptations & The Four Tops
11. Celtic Woman: Homecoming
12. Tori Amos
13. Fantasia
14. Lea Michele and Darren Criss
15. The O’Jays

*July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

Top Five Comedy Events
2017/2018 Season*
1. Jerry Seinfeld
2. Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: One Show Fits All
3. Joe Rogan
4. John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous the Tour
5. Love to Laugh Comedy Tour

*July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

Top Five Special Events
2017/2018 Season*
1. Neil deGrasse Tyson
2. Dancing with the Stars
3. Hip Hop Nutcracker
4. Joe Biden: American Promise Tour
5. John Cleese

*July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

Bob Klaus, General Manager of DPAC, said, “All of us at DPAC strive every day to give our guests an outstanding live entertainment experience which has helped us become one of the nation’s top theaters. Thanks to the booking strength of Nederlander and PFM, DPAC offers one of the best Broadway, concert and comedy line-ups in America. And with great restaurants and convenient freeway access and parking, Durham’s thriving downtown gives DPAC’s guests an exceptional night out.”

Rachel Traversari, Senior Director of Marketing, added, “On behalf of all the DPAC staff, we thank our guests for sharing in the success of another incredible season. It is such an honor to consistently be named as the Triangle’s best place for live entertainment. Our guests are the reason we work so hard to provide quality live entertainment, and we appreciate their continued support.”

By Susie Potter

Susie Potter is a 2009 graduate of Meredith College where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina Statue University. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. For more information visit SusiePotter.com.