Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Outdoor Dramas for Groups

It’s said that “all the world’s a stage,” but some stages are bigger than others.

While an intimate performance of an avant-garde, postmodern production can be an interesting and enjoyable outing, sometimes audiences want to participate in a spectacle that’s grand, sweeping and traditional. The great outdoors provides a stirring backdrop for live theater, and as long as the weather cooperates, is the ideal arena for larger-than-life experiences that celebrate historic or patriotic stories and themes that are as timeless as the great outdoors.

Here are live theater extravaganzas that are sure to enthrall your group and create wonderful memories.

The Lost Colony

Manteo, North Carolina

The true story of “The Lost Colony” involves 117 men, women, and children who set sail from England in 1587 to establish a permanent colony on Roanoke Island, part of the Outer Banks of what is now North Carolina. In August 1587, Virginia Dare was born at Roanoke, becoming the first English child born in America. Colony governor John White (Dare’s grandfather) sailed to England for supplies. After a three-year delay, White returned to find that the colony had vanished. Archaeologists are looking for the Roanoke Colony to this day.

In the early 1930s, Roanoke residents began thinking of ways to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the colony and the birth of Dare. They decided on an outdoor drama, and on July 4th, 1937, “The Lost Colony” opened and was an immediate success. In August of that year, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attended a performance.

“The Lost Colony” is performed in a large outdoor amphitheater right on the shore of the Roanoke Sound. Guests are treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets on the Outer Banks as the show gets started each evening. The stage of “The Lost Colony” is three times larger than most Broadway stages, and its light towers are the two tallest points on Roanoke Island. Recently, the show was revamped to appeal to a modern audience, with a new script, a new score, and new 3D-mapped projections and puppets that come together to create one of the most exciting nights of theater in North Carolina.

The show runs from late May through late August each year and is accommodating to groups. Motorcoach parking is available, and there is a 20% discount for groups of 15 or more. For groups of 25 or larger, two free tickets are given to tour directors/drivers.

The Medora Musical

Medora, North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt, the Marquis De Mores and others once called the tiny town of Medora home. In 1954, businessman Harold Shafer feared the history would be lost to the sands of time. He began to buy up land, including the Burning Hills Amphitheater, which sat on the side of a butte with majestic views of the North Dakota Badlands. It had a small single stage and benches that sat in dirt, but Shafer saw its charm and began to work with locals, actors and production companies to form “The Medora Musical,” which debuted in 1965.

Today, “The Medora Musical” celebrates its near and distant past. With songs and dances, the musical illustrates tales from throughout the area’s history: the time before the Marquis, the day Theodore Roosevelt entered Medora, Roosevelt’s presidency, and more recent events such as the birth of Harold Schafer’s Gold Seal Company.

“The Medora Musical” focuses on faith, family and freedom. It sticks to its core elements of patriotism, gospel, country music and celebrating the American West. The musical runs from the first week of June until the first week of September, with the entire town of Medora getting involved in the production. For tour groups, a group events department can help set up special tours that may include a backstage tour of “The Medora Musical” and the Burning Hills Amphitheatre. Groups will also enjoy the Pitchfork Steak Fondue, the Bully Pulpit Golf Course, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame and the newly announced Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, which is set to open in 2026.

Texas Outdoor Musical

Palo Dura Canyon State Park, Texas

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that includes the epic theatrical production that celebrates the state’s history. “Texas Outdoor Musical” has been delighting visitors from around the world for almost 60 years. It got its start when a piano teacher named Margaret Harper envisioned a musical performance that would tell the story of the history and achievements of Texas.

The musical takes place in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, located in the panhandle about 30 minutes south of Amarillo. Palo Duro Canyon is America’s second-largest canyon. It stretches 120 miles, is between six and 20 miles wide and in places is up to 1,000 feet deep.

As the sun begins to set on the canyon, a lone horseman appears at the rim above the amphitheater, bearing a large Texas flag atop the 600-foot cliff. That’s the beginning of a stirring musical that features a cast of more than 60, as well as amazing lighting and special effects. Many evenings throughout the summer, the show ends with a massive fireworks display. “Texas” runs from June to August, Tuesday through Sunday.

Preshow entertainment allows groups to tour Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the State Park Visitor Center and the Pioneer Amphitheatre Souvenir Shop, along with taking a wagon ride to the performance. VIP experiences include a backstage tour where guests can take pictures and get autographs with the cast and crew and enjoy a chuckwagon dinner with authentic Texas barbecue served on a covered patio.


Chillicothe, Ohio

During the late 1700s, the legendary Shawnee leader Tecumseh struggled to defend his sacred homelands and his people from settlers surging westward. In Chillicothe, Ohio, “Tecumseh!” tells his epic life story. The huge, outdoor stages of the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre afford the audience a unique viewing experience. Groups can sit beneath the stars and be immersed in the spectacle as they are surrounded by a herd of galloping horses, firing cannons and the most dazzling battle sequences offered on the American stage.

The Scioto Society was formed in 1970 to help raise awareness of the area surrounding Chillicothe, dedicating itself to the cultural, historical, educational and economic development of the tri-county area. Its first major achievement was the staging of “Tecumseh!” in 1973. Since then, the drama has grown in popularity, drawing more than 3 million visitors, and has been selected as one of the top 100 attractions in North America by the American Bus Association. Groups of 25 or more get free backstage tours. The 2024 season runs from June 14 through September 1.

The Great Passion Play

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

“The Great Passion Play” has been performed in Eureka Springs since 1968 and has become the most attended outdoor drama in America, with over 8 million people in attendance since its opening. The play tells the story of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, using a multi-level set that is over two acres large and 500 feet wide. The play was started after the “Christ of the Ozarks” statue was built on a bluff overlooking Eureka Springs.

More than 150 actors — plus many live animals including horses, doves, donkeys, sheep, a camel and a pharaoh hound — bring this epic story to life. This will be the last year the production features original 1985 music composed by Phil Perkins and performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra of London. For 2025, new music and performances will be recorded by the Budapest Orchestra.

The play debuts on Good Friday each year and has several special performances the first weekend of May. Beginning Memorial Day weekend, it runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through mid-November. Guests can also visit a petting zoo and museums on the grounds and tour a reproduction of the Holy Land Tour, which includes a replicas of Moses’ tabernacle, a first-century inn and stable, and the upper room where Jesus and his disciples feasted for the Last Supper. Group rates are available.

The Stephen Foster Story

Bardstown, Kentucky

This summer marks the 65th season of “The Stephen Foster Story” in Bardstown, Kentucky. Catherine Conner, a woman who would become the youngest Democratic National committeewoman and would subsequently serve in FDR’s inner circle, headed the successful effort to have Federal Hill — better known as “My Old Kentucky Home” — preserved as a state park. Upon seeing a performance of “The Lost Colony,” she hired Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green (who also composed “Texas Outdoor Drama”) to write a script that would tell the story of Stephen Foster and Federal Hill’s namesake tune, an abolitionist song based on the Harriet Beecher Stowe novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

Alongside the story of a man blazing a trail that would become commercial music in America, the show highlights the people and communities that inspired his songs: His friends, his love, his family and the people of African descent who were enslaved in Kentucky and freed through the Underground Railroad to Pennsylvania. This story, set in the 1850s before the American Civil War, played its first season in the 1950s, in the midst of the American Civil Rights Movement.

The two-hour stage spectacle is filled with song, dance, costumes and drama. Well-known tunes like “Oh! Susanna,” “Camptown Races,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Hard Times Come Again No More” and “My Old Kentucky Home” swirl to life onstage with a cast of 50 talented performers. In 2024, the show plays select nights June 15 through August 10. Groups will find plenty of other attractions, including numerous distilleries and the Bardstown-Nelson County African-American Museum.