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, over 30 productions have been staged at the amphitheatre in Mackenzie Park. Attendance has grown and a reputation for fantastic performances has been forged in the minds of Lubbock audiences. 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.
Moonlight Arts Academy
In addition to creating opportunities for performers, Moonlight Musicals is also committed to creating performers for opportunities. In June 2013, Moonlight Musicals launched the Moonlight Arts Academy. Ages five through adult can receive instruction in acting, stage dance, vocal performance, scenic artistry, technical theater and stagecraft, and many other disciplines. The goal of the Moonlight Arts Academy is to build artists for performances here and beyond. Click to learn more (link to Academy page)
Moonlight Broadway Series
In November 2013, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals launched a new series of productions known as Moonlight Broadway. These productions were staged indoors at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, 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” and local actress, Ann Marie Nichols, as “Grizabella.” Yvonne Racz Key of Ballet Lubbock choreographed the stunning show.
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. Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, and the Little Mermaid were among audience favorites during this professional series.
In late 2018, Gerald Dolter stepped down as Executive Artistic Director in order to focus more on the artistic parts of the organization, nominating Justin Duncan as the new Executive Director. The Board of Directors unanimously accepted Justin as Executive Director and a New Moon began. As part of this new vision, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals dropped “Lubbock” from the name, began a rebrand of the organization—including a new website—and introduced a new series of shows called Moonlight After Dark. This new series will still adhere to the value of family-oriented entertainment while offering more mature shows for adults, essentially expanding the repertoire.
The mission of Moonlight Musicals is to entertain, educate, and provide opportunity with live musical theatre, enriching lives in Lubbock and the South Plains.
Our vision is to be the premiere performance, production, and educational musical theatre company of the South Plains.