Durham County

DPAC is one of the most successful venues of its size and type for 2017 season

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Indie band Bon Iver and two comedians named Martin helped make the Durham Performing Arts Center one of the five most successful venues of its kind in the country last year.

Steve Martin, Martin Short and the Steep Canyon Rangers performed DPAC’s most-attended comedy show, and Bon Iver played its most successful concert.

Steve Martin, left, and Martin Short perform together onstage during the 45th AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to Diane Keaton at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Los Angeles. Chris Pizzello Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

With a seating capacity of 2,712, DPAC entertained a combined 462,055 attendees with its 211 stagings during its 2017 season.

The national, trade magazines Pollstar and Billboard listed it as the fourth most successful performance venue of its size and type in their end of the year, sales and attendance, industry rankings.

Venues Today’s rankings placed DPAC in fifth place.

“We work with talent agents and concert promoters across the world to bring amazing performers and experiences to DPAC for our guests to enjoy,” said Taki Pappas, DPAC’s director of programming for concerts and comedy.

DPAC sold out 113 of 211 of its 2017 events – the most sellouts since its 2008 opening-year season.

Dancing With The Stars Photo Credit Heather Donovan
Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane perform at the American Dance Festival at the Durham Performance Arts Center. Heather Donovan Courtesy of the Durham Performance Arts Center

“As much as our guests love Broadway, DPAC is also known for its outstanding concerts, comedy performances and special events,” Pappas said.

The top seat-selling touring Broadway show at DPAC was the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I.”

“Our team in New York strives to bring the biggest Broadway hits to DPAC before they play any other theaters in the region,” said Rachel Traversari, DPAC’s senior director of marketing.

“Hamilton” will come to DPAC in the 2018-19 season, but venue officials said this week that it no longer is selling season ticket packages for that season.

DPAC reports that it doesn’t have enough capacity to sell more season ticket packages beyond the ones already in the system. DPAC management cites “an unprecedented number of season seats sold this past season.”

DPAC will announce its 2018-19 Broadway season on Feb. 16, unveiling dates for the Tony-winning smash “Hamilton” and the other seven shows in the series.

Current season ticket-holders will have the option to renew after that.

As for everyone else – those who aren’t season ticket-holders – DPAC will have “a very limited number of tickets for non-members” for all eight Broadway shows, including “Hamilton.” Those should go on sale later this summer.

Finding Neverland 1 Christine Dwyer as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in the Nationa
Christine Dwyer, as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, in the National Production of Finding Neverland. Carol Rosegg Courtesy of the Durham Performing Arts Center

Top 5 Broadway shows at DPAC

▪ 1. “The King and I”

▪ 2. “Finding Neverland”

▪ 3. “The Little Mermaid”

▪ 4. “Love Never Dies”

▪ 5. “School of Rock”

Top 5 Comedy Events at DPAC

▪ 1. Steve Martin, Martin Short and the Steep Canyon Rangers

▪ 2. Chris Rock

▪ 3. Adam Sandler

▪ 4. Trevor Noah

▪ 5. Jay Leno

Neil deGrasse Tyson Photo Credit Ken Huth
Neil deGrasse Tyson Ken A. Huth Courtesy of the Durham Performance Arts Center

Top 5 Special Events

▪ 1. “A Christmas Carol”

▪ 2. “Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue”

▪ 3. American Dance Festival 2017

▪ 4. Neil DeGrasse Tyson

▪ 5. “Dancing with the Stars”

Top 5 Concerts at DPAC

▪ 1. Bon Iver

▪ 2. Tony Bennett

▪ 3. Earth, Wind & Fire

▪ 4. The Beach Boys

▪ 5. Steve Miller Band

David Menconi contributed to this report.

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks

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