TEXAS the Outdoor Musical Drama


TEXAS the Outdoor Musical Drama

Some dreams fade and are forgotten by the noon-day sun.  Some become reality and endure for generations.  Such was the dream of Margaret Harper who founded the organization that has tended the outdoor musical Texas for 55 years.  Her vision in 1961 lead to the building of the Pioneer Amphitheater which would put on the first performance of Texas on the year I was born in 1966.

The Pioneer Amphitheater is seen from the Rim of Palo Duro Canyon.

In 2016, I did an art exhibit on the photos I had been taking of Palo Duro Canyon.  The Canyon is seminal in my soul's journey and healing (both emotional and physical).  The art show was a milestone in showing off a love affair.  The folks at Texas offered me some tickets to give away to help encourage folks to attend my exhibit.  In return, I offered to do some photography.  I had seen the play when I was a kid but had not had any interest in returning, musicals after all have never really been my thing.

Boy do I wish I had nurtured that relationship earlier.  21 days after that first night of photography, I took a day off.   And we are not talking easy photography.  The Canyon is often 10 degrees hotter than the plains above and with average 100-degree summer highs hiking around and getting photos from every angle was hot.  Add to that, I was given free rein to shoot whatever and where ever as long as the audience didn't see me.  

NO PHOTOGRAPHY unless you are the photographer!

The play combines so many of my favorite things in life.  It is outside in one of the most amazing spots on planet earth as far as I am concerned: Palo Duro State Park. In fact, the backdrop of the play is a Canyon Wall, just crazy beautiful all by itself.  Add in the old western show, wagons, horses cowgirls and cowboys, and WOW what a night.

The Canyon Wall is the Backdrop for the play and yes you sit under those big Texas Stars!

The play is a historical fiction loosely based on the events of the settling of the Panhandle of Texas and portrays some of those giants of the old west which made Texas legendary: Chief Quanah Parker and Col. Charles Goodnight.  If you saw Lonesome Dove, Woodrow F. Call is loosely based on Goodnight.

Benny Tahmahkera (Quanah Parker's great-great-grandson) playing Quanah Parker

For days after seeing the play, I find the music running through my mind.  The whole play, story, acting, the setting is so charming!  Even the humor. I have heard the jokes dozens of times and still laugh.

For now, I am going to close this blog and save some about Texas for the next one!  There are three scenes that stick out to my mind as a photographer and I am going to write about those next!  So stay tuned!

OHHHHH, if you have not been to see the play it is a must-see bucket list thing.  Information about showtimes and tickets can be found HERE.


Until next month,