Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 29, 2015

Texas | The Musical

If you live in Texas, you should add Palo Duro Canyon to your Texas bucket list — not only to enjoy the magnificent beauty of the canyon, but to see the outdoor drama “Texas.” This musical romance of Panhandle history will fill you with Texas pride. Now in its 50th season, “Texas” is even better than I remember when I first saw it in its 5th season.

Texas Booklet
This musical drama set in an outdoor amphitheater dwarfed by the thousand-foot walls of Palo Duro Canyon was born in the heart of Margaret Harper. After reading an article in Reader’s Digest about a playwright named Paul Green who specialized in telling the history of a region in magnificent outdoor settings, Harper wrote to Green about the beauty of the Palo Duro Canyon. The rest is history.

The musical is a high-energy production filled with all of the things that make a story interesting, including conflict and romance. From the start, you are drawn into the story by a lone rider carrying a huge Texas flag, riding at full gallop along the edge of the canyon. And then it begins, the dancing and singing and unfolding story of how the Panhandle was settled. I thought it was really cool that Benny Tahmahkera, the actor who plays Quanah Parker, the last Chief of the Comanches, is an actual descendent of Quanah Parker.

At one point the wind picked up and we could smell the coming of rain. It’s happened before in this outdoor setting. As the nervous audience looked at the stage and at the dark clouds overhead, the actors on stage were lamenting a West Texas drought that threatened their crops. And then, the first drops of actual rain fell from the sky at the exact moment that Calvin Armstrong, a young homesteader, received word that it was raining and the drought was over. Pretty cool timing, God!

Texas Musical
There is so much more to tell about this beautiful story. I’m glad that Cheryl and I had the opportunity to enjoy it together. Cheryl absolutely loved it. Although we had talked about this amazing drama so many times over the years, our road trips took us all over the country — everywhere but the Texas Panhandle. And now, 35 years after we first talked about it, we finally made it to Palo Duro Canyon. And we are very glad we did!

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