By Erin Jones

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The first Broadway tour since the pandemic began is happening in North Texas.

On Tuesday night, August 3, Wicked debuted at the Music Hall in Fair Park.

It’s also the return of Dallas Summer Musicals.

Two of the first to arrive are a father daughter duo who share a love of Broadway.

“We have a full box of playbills!” Katherine Ingram said. “We used to get the nosebleed section seats for like $15-$20 and we’d go after school and we’ve done it my whole life.”

Together, they’ve seen Wicked 9 times.

Lauren Muller has them beat.

“This will be my 267th show,” Muller said. “There are people that have seen it more.”

She and a friend drove from St. Louis, making sure they didn’t miss the return of the musical that offers a look at the Land of Oz before Dorthy arrived.

“You know 2020 was crazy for everybody, but to have our special interest as she like to call it just ripped away from us like that, it was hard,” Dustin Paschezag said. “You do a lot of self reflection and what not. It was really weird for me, so this is really emotional to be here again after so long.”

Welcoming guests back safely took a lot of time and planning.

On top of requiring masks and putting out hand sanitizing stations, there were also upgrades made to the building.

“We had to replace all the filtration in the building to Merv13 filters.” Dallas Summer Musicals President Ken Novice said. “So throughout the building we feel the air will be safe to breathe and that is most important for us.”

As the actors take the stage tonight, Novkce said Tuesday night was an opportunity to get back to work.

“We’re grateful that we’re able to lead the charge,” he said.

“I think the energy will be bouncing off the walls,”attendee Kathy Hodges said. “ It’s going to be electric.

“It’s definitely been an experience to see the world all come together and form this bond over the theater community and work towards getting it back!” Ingram said.

Wicked runs through September 5 at Dallas Fair Park.

Erin Jones