The Show Must Go On: Moonlight Musicals Powers Back to Action
The Saturday, June 23 outdoor performance of “The Music Man” was running just as the cast and crew had rehearsed it. Then, in the middle of Act 1, the sound stopped and the lights flickered and faded one by one, leaving the entire stage and its 400 show attendees in the dark.
Since its establishment in 2006 by Founder and President Gerald Dolter, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals has provided the community with family-friendly fun, a greater appreciation for the arts and, most importantly, a sense of home. Throughout the year, the company puts on grand-scale musicals in the outdoor setting of Lubbock’s Moonlight Musicals Amphitheatre.
“One summer evening in 2005, I was looking at the barren amphitheater stage at MacKenzie Park with my wife, Karen,” said Dolter. “I knew there was a need for a musical theater venue in Lubbock for both students and the people of the South Plains.” Gazing at the full moon that summer evening, the life of Lubbock Moonlight Musicals began.
Since then, Dolter has cast over 60 adults and children for various roles. He considers Moonlight Musicals to be a community theater, so everyone who auditions gets a part in the theater. This past summer season opened with a production of “The Music Man” followed by “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” then closed with the hit musical “Singin’ in the Rain.”
“When the shows are going on, I usually take a chair in the technical booth behind the audience, which is seated up high so I get a nice view of the stage and surroundings,” said Dolter. “In the middle of Act 1, we suddenly heard a loud boom and crackle from the nearby street.”
Immediately afterward, the lights and sound went out.
As a professor of voice at Texas Tech University and former performer in the best opera houses in Germany, Dolter was no stranger to improvising. However, with no sound or lights, Dolter was left with two options, which he presented to his captive audience: cancel the performance, or take an intermission while they worked to resolve the issue. With resounding cheers and applause for the second option, Dolter and his crew made the call to LP&L.
On that particular evening when the power went out, LP&L serviceman Jabo Chancy was already responding to another call in the area. “When I first got the call from Moonlight Musicals, all crews in the field were already working other calls across town,” said Chancy. “I was the closest, so I tried to get there as fast as I could.”
Temperatures reached almost 100 degrees the day of the performance. During the hot summer months, customers across the city use more energy during early evening hours, especially for cooling their homes. That demand can create a strain on the electric grid and the overall system.
In less than 10 minutes, Chancy arrived and quickly assessed one of the fuses had blown and needed to be replaced.
“Jabo told us things would eventually come back online, little by little,” said Dolter. “It was funny watching the lights come back on stage one at a time.” Sure enough, they were back up and running within 45 minutes of when the outage started.
Just to be sure everything was back in working order, Chancy started making his way backstage to check with the sound and lighting crewmembers. On his way there, the crowd recognized his LP&L shirt and began applauding him for his efforts to save the show.
“I was just doing what I was supposed to do,” said Chancy. “It’s rewarding to help people, which is my favorite part of this job.”
Chancy has over 30 years of experience and joined the LP&L team as an LP&L serviceman in 2016 alongside a team of nine others, a supervisor and foreman. The volume and nature of requests can range depending on the day. Typically, his day consists of setting meters, working on outages and trimming trees, but he often goes above and beyond to help customers however he can. He even helped an elderly customer reprogram her TV after a power outage.
As they say in show business, the show must go on. And that evening, it did.
Moonlight Musicals holds outdoor performances year-round. Customers can bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic dinner and enjoy one of their many productions. Click here to view the upcoming show schedule.
To report an electric outage, call (806) 775-2509 or email or text email@example.com. Customers can also check our outage map for status updates at lpandl.com/outage-map.