When the popular musical "Wicked" hits the Durham Performing Arts Center Wednesday night, it will be the show's third time playing the venue. It is among the hundreds that have graced the center since its opening in 2008.
"A lot of times, we are the only stop in North Carolina (for touring shows)," senior director of marketing Rachel Traversari said. "We're the biggest performing arts center between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, and I think that's one of the drawing points."
Durham Mayor William Bell also credits the venue's success to a partnership between the city and Duke University.
"We were able to build the theater that you see primarily because Duke was able to provide $7.5 million," Bell said.
Since opening six years ago, the DPAC has garnered numerous honors, including being named a finalist last year for a Billboard Magazine Touring Award for top venue under 5,000 seats. It has also ranked among the top venues for attendance in the nation.
From Broadway touring shows to world-class comedians, the DPAC hosts more than 180 performances a year.
Bell says the DPAC has helped transform downtown and serve as a catalyst for revitalization, attracting new tenants to the area, including luxury hotel 21c.
"When we talked to them, they said one of the attractions for coming to Durham was the DPAC and the number of people it was bringing in," he said.
The Aloft hotel is opening right next to the DPAC, and numerous restaurants continue to open in the American Tobacco Campus building nearby.
"Restaurants and hotels and nightlife continue to grow, and DPAC continues to be a beacon for that area," Traversari said.