By Marissa GOULD, intern
The Alex Theater has been a Glendale landmark since 1925. It was even granted national historic landmark status in the ’90s. With the passing of time, though, the grand venue needed updating and, beginning in July 2013, the Alex has been undergoing major renovations. Now, nearly a year later, the work is finally done completing a 6,600 square foot expansion of its backstage facilities.
While most of the cosmetic restoration (such as re-painting) was done two years ago, this past year’s work focused on features not in the limelight. However, this work will vastly improve the facility for the shows that take place at the Alex. For example, storage space was increased. Before the renovations, due to lack of space extra props would have to be up on stage, hidden. This caused many problems with performers not being able to fully utilize the entire stage area. Another renovation was to the exterior of the backstage entrance, which now has new concrete put down replacing the dirt that was there for decades.
Elissa Glickman, CEO of Glendale Arts, which manages the 1,413-seat Alex, said the expansion will bring more entertainment to Glendale.
“The new rooms will give us the ability to attract musical theater companies,” said Glickman, “[and] have much bigger concert-type productions.”
Backstage, the Alex has many new rooms including three large dressing rooms with mirrors on all walls and bright lights to help the performers in preparing for their performance. These new dressing rooms can hold up to 170 people. In addition to new dressing rooms, backstage there are also three new large chorus rooms, a staff break room, an updated sound and lighting room, and an updated IT room. Everything in these rooms is state-of-the-art, especially the sound and lighting room which now boasts Dolby surround sound. There were also some structural renovations at the Alex such as a new roof.
The forecourt of the Alex also is getting some attention. Crews are removing some of the foliage and adding more lights. This will allow for red carpet events at the Alex such as Martin Short’s Saturday night performance.
To formally introduce all the Alex renovations, there will be the first ever Event Expo + Open House on Monday, July 14 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Event professionals, performing arts organizations, location managers and the public are invited to be among the first to see the newly renovated venue and get a first-hand look at all the services the Alex, and its management entity Glendale Arts, offer in a fun-filled gathering of industry peers and community friends.
“In addition to showcasing the Theatre’s new backstage amenities, the Event Expo + Open House is an opportunity to demonstrate that the Alex Theatre is a one-stop shop for event production,” said director of Marketing & Events Maria Sahakian. “We offer a comprehensive menu of services both in-house and in collaboration with our network of partners that will literally ‘set the stage’ for every element of our clients’ event needs.”
Tours will be given of the facility and demonstrations presented of the Theatre’s state-of-the-art in-house sound and lighting equipment. In addition, there will be give-aways, food and drink and the opportunity to meet the Alex Theatre and Glendale Arts staff, along with the venue’s event services partners, and receive free samples, discounted services, and fresh ideas for all aspects of event planning, marketing and execution.
The Alex Theatre is located at 216 N. Brand Blvd. in Glendale. For additional information and updates, contact Maria Sahakian at EventExpo@AlexTheatre.org or MSahakian@GlendaleArts.org or visit www.AlexTheatre.org/Expo.