A Decade of DPAC

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Bob Klaus, Rachel Traversari and and Josh Anderson backstage at the Durham Performing Arts Center, where hundreds of performers have signed their names on the walls. Photo by Beth Mann

There have been so many great things that have happened at DPAC that it is hard to place a “best” tag on just one. One moment that will always be special, though, was in 2010 when DPAC was first listed among the top 10 theaters in America by Pollstar, a leading trade publication that covers the live entertainment business. The team here had worked so hard and overcame the many challenges (and naysayers) that come along with opening a new venue. This ranking was validation that not only had we become an important venue in the Triangle and the Carolinas, but we were now listed among the very best theaters in America. When that happened, I knew we were definitely on the right track toward hosting the biggest theater shows in the world and our focus on the guest experience.

Bob Klaus | General Manager

For me it was opening the national tour of Tony Award-winning Best Musical “Billy Elliott” in 2010. Hosting Broadway directors and creative team members not only at DPAC, but also in Durham, for weeks was an incredible experience. I also got to watch five boys from all over the world train as “Billy” at DPAC – most have now gone on to Broadway and win national dance competitions.

Thank you to all those who have attended a show at DPAC and helped put DPAC on the map as one of the top performing arts venues in the country.

Rachel Traversari
Senior Director of Marketing

I’m fortunate that my role at DPAC affords me the opportunity to be acutely involved in all the crazy goings-on that can occur in backstage areas. I have many favorite memories; however, one that truly stands out is the night John Legend was performing for our inaugural gala back in December 2009. I was informed during the day that John had decided to enter from the rear of the orchestra seating to open his set. This was our fifth show ever so in order to make sure all went off without a hitch, I assisted in escorting John from backstage, up the grand lobby staircase and finally through the house right doors. Thinking back to the looks of excitement on both coworkers’ and patrons’ faces while making that walk, followed by the pop from the audience when they realized John Legend was about to walk right by them made me realize, even back then, that we were on to something here at DPAC.

Josh Anderson | Technical Director 

Fast Facts

  • 3,966,647 tickets sold
  • 1,987 performances
  • 230 full- and part-time employees
  • No. 1 best-selling performance: Adam Sandler
    on April 13, 2017 (Neil Young was No. 2 on April 15, 2011)
  • No. 1 best-selling single week Broadway performance
    (8 shows) – Book of Mormon, February 18-23, 2014
  • No. 1 best-selling multi-week Broadway performance
    – Disney’s The Lion King, February/March 2016 (40 shows)

Top Accolades

  • Almost 4 million guests in attendance
  • TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for past 7 years
  • The International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA)
    honored DPAC with the Theater of the Year (2018) award
  • Ranked No. 2 in Attendance by Pollstar Magazine
  • (2018 Calendar Mid-Year Rankings – Theater Venues – U.S.)
  • Ranked Top 5 in Attendance by Pollstar Magazine for past eight years
  • Nominated for Touring Billboard Awards for
    Top Venue Under 5,000 Seats (2014 and 2015)

What’s in store for the next 10 years at DPAC?

“Hopefully a return of Hamilton!” Rachel says. “DPAC has become the center for live entertainment in North Carolina. We hope to continue to bring something for everyone to Durham from Broadway to concerts to comedy and family shows.”

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