Despite its abbreviated 2020 Calendar, DPAC again ranks among the nation’s top theaters

By DPAC / Published 01.11.21
Back to Feed

PICTURED Durham Performing Arts Center

While 2020 was a unique year for venues across the country, DPAC continues to be ranked among the top-ten theaters in America by three leading national publications that cover live entertainment events and venues. These rankings were based on the 54 events DPAC held this past January through March, which welcomed almost 120,000 guests in just two-and-a-half months of operation.

Although events are currently suspended, DPAC staff are working daily to plan and prepare for a safe reopening in 2021, when the DPAC stage will once again shine.

In their recently released year-end published attendance and sales rankings, Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Now all placed DPAC among the top U.S. venues of its size and type. Among U.S. theaters, DPAC was ranked 4th in Venues Now, 6th in Pollstar, and 7th in Billboard.

Operated under the direction of Nederlander and Professional Facilities Management (PFM), since opening in 2008, DPAC has welcomed more than 4.8 million guests to 2,300+ Broadway, concert, comedy and special events. Despite this impressive history, DPAC’s abbreviated schedule in 2020 was also an unfortunate reminder of the importance of DPAC’s role in Durham’s continued renaissance and vitality as many nearby restaurants and places DPAC guests gather before and after shows went dark.

“Live entertainment plays such an important role in bringing together communities,” said Bob Klaus, General Manager at DPAC. “We are eager and ready to once again present one-of-a-kind live entertainment events and we can’t wait to welcome back our guests with DPAC’s legendary customer experience.”

Broadway musicals are annually featured among DPAC’s list of best-selling events, and this trend continued in 2020. Each season, DPAC’s signature series, Truist Broadway at DPAC, presents the biggest hit Broadway tours from New York, London, and around the world. The top best-selling Broadway show of 2020 was Mean Girls, based on the popular movie written by Tiny Fey. Come From Away, DPAC’s highest rated Broadway show ever, followed. Beloved classics RENT and Les Misérables, along with Broadway’s ultimate disco dance party, SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical, completed the top five Broadway shows of the year.

Top 5 Broadway Shows - 2020:
1. Mean Girls (8 performances)
2. Come From Away (8 performances)
3. RENT (8 performances)
4. Les Misérables (3 performances)
5. SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical (8 performances)

“Our Broadway shows in 2020 embody the wide range of storytelling that is present in musicals today,” said Rachel Traversari, Senior Director of Marketing. “From inspiring true stories to laugh-out-loud comedies, DPAC again offered something for everyone among the hit Broadway shows that graced our stage.”

Along with hit Broadway shows, DPAC also offers a wealth of concerts, comedy and special events each year.

Returning fan-favorite, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, topped the list of 2020 concerts, followed by the legendary Tony Bennett making his 4th appearance on the DPAC stage. The premiere of Bob Weir and Wolf Bros and Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, as well as the return of the special tribute show, The Simon and Garfunkel Story, rounded out the top 5.

Top 5 Concerts - 2020:
1. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
2. Tony Bennett
3. Bob Weir and Wolf Bros
4. The Simon and Garfunkel Story
5. Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox

In addition to presenting the world’s top Broadway shows and talented concert artists, DPAC also hosts some of the biggest names in comedy and a unique lineup of special events. Billboard’s 2018 Comedian of the Year, Sebastian Maniscalco, made DPAC history as the first comedian to perform 4 shows in a row in March 2020, leading the list of top comedy shows. For DPAC’s special events, Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted the year’s bestselling performance, followed by the national tours of Dancing With The Stars Live! and Blippi Live!

Top 3 Comedy Shows - 2020:
1. Sebastian Maniscalco (4 shows)
2. Jo Koy
3. Ilana Glazer

Top 5 Special Events - 2020:
1. Neil deGrasse Tyson
2. Dancing With The Stars Live!
3. Blippi Live!
4. Randy Rainbow Live!
5. Bull City Food and Beer Experience

“Although 2020 was a brief season, it offered a snapshot of all of the exciting and diverse offerings that DPAC provides for our community,” said Brad Saks, DPAC’s Director of Programming for Concerts, Comedy and Special Events. “This year, DPAC hosted its first comedian to perform four shows in one sitting, Sebastian Maniscalco, and we celebrated the performances of music across generations – from Tony Bennett to Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. We look forward to picking up where we left off and again bring the world’s biggest superstars to the stage at DPAC.”

About DPAC

Since its opening in 2008, DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center) has become the center for live entertainment in North Carolina. Recognized for its contemporary design, DPAC features 2,704 seats, intimate sightlines and state-of-the-art sound and video. Ranked annually among the top-ten theaters in America by three leading national magazines that cover live entertainment events and venues, DPAC attracts over 500,000 guests per year.

With a mission of presenting one-of-a-kind live entertainment events, DPAC truly has “something for everyone,” hosting more than 200 performances a year, including spectacular touring Broadway productions, high-profile concert and comedy events, family shows and the heralded American Dance Festival. Owned by the City of Durham and operated under the direction of Nederlander and Professional Facilities Management (PFM), since 2011 DPAC has been listed as the #1 performing arts organization in the region by the Triangle Business Journal.

For more information please go to www.DPACnc.com.