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Dallas Summer Musicals figures out a clever way to beat the pandemic, so hello, Vanessa Williams

Dallas Morning News logo Dallas Morning News 11/25/2020 Michael Granberry, The Dallas Morning News

The pandemic has taken a fierce toll on Dallas-area arts organizations, Dallas Summer Musicals in particular. DSM recently announced that it would remain dark until May of next year, when it hopes to unveil the Tony Award-winning Hadestown. (The key word being “hopes.”) In the meantime, DSM has figured out a clever way to give something back to its patrons while also enhancing the bottom line. It’s a phrase we’ve used often in 2020, but once again, call it a way to make lemonade out of lemons.

Earlier this year, DSM debuted Live from the West Side, which brings to your living room a live evening of entertainment from a Broadway notable. The first one featured Christopher Jackson from Hamilton. Next came Patti LuPone, followed by Laura Benanti. The fourth and final installment stars Vanessa Williams on Saturday night, Dec. 5.

The shows feature Broadway luminaries giving you not only a full evening of live entertainment but also their own special commentary. Benanti was especially funny and poignant.

“It brings in a little bit of revenue,” says DSM executive Mike Richman. “And it’s also a touchpoint with our patrons, bringing some live entertainment into their lives during this time when our stages are dark.”

DSM is actually co-producing the series, which it shares with more than 20 other non-profits around the country.

“We’re working on some additional shows for early 2021,” says Richman, who adds that “watching the chat function during the shows has been absolutely amazing, having people say that these live-stream shows have made their months, made their quarantine. It gives them an opportunity — even though it’s through a screen — to interact with their Broadway idols.”

Tickets to the Vanessa Williams show cost $30, and you can obtain them at the company’s website,


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