By Jason KUROSU
The Alex Theatre hosted an expo and open house Monday night, allowing the general public to see the expanded sections of the theatre after eight months of renovation. Since July 2013, the theatre has undergone renovations to the backstage facilities, including providing additional dressing rooms, storage space, a new freight elevator, passenger elevator and stair and hallway access.
While the $5.2 million expansion took place, the theatre continued performances between periods of construction, until the expansion was officially completed in the spring. According to Alex Theatre officials, the new expansion should allow the theatre to accommodate much larger productions than before.
“We found we were saying ‘no’ to too many performances,” said Glendale Arts Business Development & Sales Manager Nina Crowe, who noted that productions with large casts would often not have the requisite amount of dressing rooms at the theatre.
“This opens us up for more Broadway-production scale performances,” said Maria Sahakian, director of Marketing & Events.
On Monday night, members of the public were able to tour the backstage area and explore all aspects of the 6,600 sq. ft. expansion.
Outside the theatre, businesses that had partnered with the Alex Theatre were on hand to speak with attendees. Among the businesses featured were those involved in promotion of Alex Theatre events, dance and/or music studios, prop houses for Alex’s myriad productions, the Alex Theatre Film Society, groups representing the city of Glendale and a host of others.
Sahakian described the purpose of the event as “twofold,” intended to introduce the public to parts of the Alex Theatre which were previously off limits or new and also to show that the theatre could be a “one-stop shop” for those interested in putting on productions at the Alex, offering a wide range of available services to prospective performers.
The night also served as a promotional event for those businesses involved, and in that vein, a forum was also held inside the theatre that night, focusing on businesses using social media to market their services.
A three member panel comprised of owners of marketing and advertising groups led the discussion on how to successfully use social media for promotion.
From its origins as a movie theater and vaudeville house nearly 90 years ago, the Alex Theatre has evolved with the times, hosting a wide range of events at present. With the recent expansion, Alex Theatre officials hope that the theatre will remain one of the city’s major, recognizable landmarks and central to Glendale’s entertainment district.