DURHAM — After setting attendance records in 2016, the Durham Performing Arts Center again ranks among the top theaters in America, according to three national magazines that cover live U.S. entertainment events and venues.

In their year-end published attendance and sales rankings, Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Today all placed DPAC among the country’s top five venues among reporting venues of its size and type, DPAC announced Tuesday in a news release.

DPAC ranked fifth in Pollstar, fourth in Billboard and third in Venues Today.

DPAC’s 2016 calendar year featured 235 events, which drew a record-setting 490,883 guests and 108 sellouts. Owned by the city of Durham, DPAC in 2016 marked eight years of operation under the direction of Nederlander and Professional Facilities Management.

“Our top priority has always been to be our guests’ favorite place for live entertainment — and that shows in DPAC’s rising attendance and its ranking as one of the top U.S. venues every year,” DPAC General Manager Bob Klaus said in the news release. “With the resources of Nederlander and PFM, DPAC competes to host every major live entertainment event in America playing venues of our size. Everything we do is done with our guests in mind.”

In Greensboro, planners of the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts aim for similar success.

A public-private partnership, the $78.1 million, 3,000-seat Tanger Center will be built on a lot bordered by North Elm and East Lindsay streets, Abe Brenner Place and Summit Avenue, near the new Carolyn & Maurice LeBauer Park.

Cosntruction of the state-of-the-art venue is expected to begin by the end of May. If all goes as planned, it would open in the first quarter of 2019.

At DPAC, heading the list of the highest-attended shows in 2016 were encore presentations of Disney’s "The Lion King," which entertained sellout crowds every night during its multi-week run in February and March, and the "Book of Mormon."

Both were part of DPAC's SunTrust Broadway series.

"Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical" collaborated with the Autism Society of North Carolina and Duke Health to offer DPAC’s first-ever special sensory-friendly performance.

“DPAC is the home of the biggest Broadway blockbusters. Fans of live theater know they can count on us to bring the newest hit shows direct from Broadway before they play any other theaters in the region,” Rachel Traversari, DPAC’s senior marketing director, said in the news release. 

Top Five Broadway shows at DPAC in 2016:

1. Disney’s "The Lion King"

2. "The Book of Mormon"

3. "Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical"

4. "Fun Home"

5. "42nd Street"

In addition to Broadway blockbusters, legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin led DPAC’s concert sellouts, followed by pop veterans Duran Duran, blues singer Joe Bonamassa, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Comedy also played a big role in DPAC's year with Jeff Foxworthy & the Cable Guy, Ron White and Lewis Black each drawing large crowds to their multi-performance engagements. Special events included Food Network star Alton Brown’s “Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science,” and a special run of "Love Jones — The Musical," a musical stage adaptation of the renowned 1997 film.

Top 15 Concerts at DPAC in 2016:

1. Aretha Franklin

2. Duran Duran

3. Joe Bonamassa

4. Bob Dylan

5. Il Divo

6. Anthony Hamilton

7. The Moody Blues

8. The Temptations & The Four Tops

9. Mannheim Steamroller

10. The Piano Guys

11. Yanni

12. Celtic Woman

13. Vince Gill

14. ARW — An Evening of Yes Music

15. Weird Al Yankovic

Top Five Comedy Events at DPAC in 2016:

1. Jeff Foxworthy & The Cable Guy

2. Ron White

3. Lewis Black

4. Nick Offerman & Megan Mullally

5. Bill Engvall

Top Five Special Events

1. Ira David Wood III’s "A Christmas Carol"

2. 2016 American Dance Festival

3. "Love Jones"

4. Alton Brown

5. Carolina Ballet's "The Nutcracker."

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