Lubbock Moonlight Musicals was born in 2005, as Gerald Dolter sat with his wife, Karen, looking at the barren stage of the amphitheatre in Mackenzie Park. As professor of voice at Texas Tech University and former performer in the best opera houses in Germany, Dolter knew the value of on-stage experience. His students, in an attempt to build their resumes, had to go elsewhere each summer to glean what only live, stage experience could teach. They needed a venue in Lubbock.
As the idea developed, Dolter realized the value, not only to his students, but also to the people of the South Plains, of having their own theatre. He turned to his wife and asked, “What shall we call it?” Gazing at the full moon that summer evening, she responded with “Lubbock Moonlight Musicals,” and the life of a new theatre company began.
August of 2006 brought the first fully staged production in the Wells Fargo Amphitheatre, as Lubbock Moonlight Musicals christened the stage with Oklahoma! The journey had begun. Since that time, 24+ productions have been staged at the amphitheatre in Mackenzie Park, with number 25 being Shrek, the Musical. Audiences have grown and a reputation for fantastic performances has been forged in the minds of Lubbock audiences.
As Lubbock Moonlight Musicals reaches out to the public, it is not only to those who already know they love the arts, but it is to attract those who might never have had the experience of hearing a full orchestra or seeing a live, staged play. The Amphitheatre offers a unique environment for theater-goers with a relaxed atmosphere and dress code, and an open invitation to bring lawn chairs and picnics.
Each day that passes, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals finds ways to create opportunities for performers. From our high school age performance ensemble called Moonlight Directions, to our professional ensemble group called Encore, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals is prepared to entertain at varied civic events, company socials, assisted living homes, private parties, and special clubs such as the Lubbock Boys and Girls Clubs.
In addition to creating opportunities for performers, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals is also committed to creating performers for opportunities. In June 2013, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals launched the Lubbock Moonlight Arts Academy. Ages five through adult can receive instruction in acting, stage dance, vocal performance, guitar performance, visual arts, and many other disciplines. The goal of the Moonlight Arts Academy is to build performers for performances here and beyond.
In November 2013, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals launched a new level of productions known as the Moonlight Broadway series, with Les Misérables leading the way. The production was welcomed by Lubbock with overwhelming enthusiasm. The following autumn, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals produced a Moonlight Broadway production of CATS!, starring Ken Page, of the original Broadway cast, as “Old Deuteronomy”.
Local actress, Ann Marie Nichols, mesmerized the audience with her dramatic portrayal of “Grizabella”. Talented choreographer, Yvonne Racz Key of Ballet Lubbock, and each and every performer, dancer, cat, and member of the production and artistic team worked countless hours and brought their very best to the table. Audience members were thrilled and amazed.
Staging professional shows by a Lubbock company allows local professional-level performers an opportunity to shine. In May of 2015, the third Moonlight Broadway production, Mary Poppins, took flight to rave reviews and a cast filled with deeply fascinating and charming characters. Starring Indiana native and Texas Tech University graduate, Nicole Casteel, and Houston-raised dancer, Jordan Fife Hunt, Mary Poppins transported audience across the roof-tops of London and left them with the reminder that “anything can happen, if you let it.”
For the 2015 summer series in the newly rechristened Moonlight Musicals Amphitheatre, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals will present Shrek the Musical, 1776, and a special 10th anniversary revival production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. In addition to the regularly scheduled summer series, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals is proud to present the Moonlight Children’s Theatre inaugural production, Beauty and the Beast Jr., to take place in the Moonlight Musicals Amphitheatre Pavilion in July.
It is always the wish and goal of Lubbock Moonlight Musicals that you leave shows inspired, entertained, and enthusiastic about the accomplishments of the talented cast and team who have given so much to make the production a fantastic success. Thank you choosing to spend your evenings with LMM. More thrilling productions are in the works and you won’t want to miss what is coming next!