TEXAS Outdoor Musical Celebrates 50th Season

Jul 16, 2015

The 1,600-seat Pioneer Amphitheatre is built below the canyon wall, which provides a spectacular backdrop.
Credit Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation

Robyn Ross of the Texas Observer has written a wonderful article on the 50th season of the outdoor musical TEXAS, performed each year in a 1,600-seat amphitheater in Palo Duro Canyon, southeast of Amarillo.

Each year, as the students of West Texas A&M University head home, and the town settles into the dry heat of a High Plains summer, the dancers, actors, musicians, choreographers, and costumers of this panhandle mainstay are just getting started, rehearsing seven days a week for up to 12 hours a day. The musical is a yearly boon to the economy of Canyon, Texas, population 13,000.

Though the numbers have fallen from its heyday in the 1970s and ‘80s, the music still draws tens of thousands of playgoers each summer, and the performers often describe the experience as life-changing. But, to quote Ross, “the show is more than a tourist attraction. It’s a community ritual, an annual affirmation of Panhandle citizens’ perseverance in the face of hardship.”