Dallas Takes the Lead With First Broadway Tour Since Start of Pandemic

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North Texas took the lead with the very first Broadway tour to open in the country.

If you’ve ever questioned whether Dallas was a summertime destination, the crowd Tuesday night at the Music Hall at Fair Park might’ve made you a believer. It was opening night of Wicked, the untold story of the witches of the land of Oz. It wasn’t just any opening night, though. It was the nation’s very first in-person Broadway production since the pandemic began.

Lauren Mueller and Dustin Pashedag drove hours from St. Louis to be in Dallas for the first in-person show. For Mueller, this one was up there with the sweetest of them all.

“We left yesterday at 4 p.m., drove here got here at 4 a.m. and crashed before we came to the show,” she said. “I have seen it 268 times in 38 cities, so we had to be here. This was a moment to see our favorite musical and connect with it again.”

The house was packed and the energy undeniable. Mike Richman is VP of Dallas Summer Musicals. He said the performing arts attempted to stay relevant during stay-at-home orders by putting on virtual shows. However, there’s nothing like live theater.

“I hope you can see me smiling through my eyes. It’s such a huge deal,” said Richman through his face mask. “It’s really all of this pent-up, built-up energy and excitement is really palpable.”

Richman believes the arts contribute to our overall quality of life. He said great architecture, parks, restaurants and retail all contribute to a thriving city. Even with all that, the arts absolutely must be included.

This was a homecoming of sorts. A sigh of relief and joy after a year without live theater.

“A lot of our weekends and things were spent planning trips, going around the country to see the show. So, to have it ripped away from you like that makes you examine a lot of things and makes it that much more special,” said Dustin Pashedag.

Even those who had their first Wicked experience are ready to come back again and again.

“Oh, I want more. I want to come to as many of these as I can,” said first-timer Marquetta Threlkeld. “I’m hoping I can come to the next one or the one after. Because after this I’m kind of hooked now.”

Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows arts and culture contributed some $800-billion to the U.S. economy before the pandemic.

Wicked will play at Music Hall at Fair Park through September 5. For more information visit https://dallassummermusicals.org/

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