By Michael YEGHIAYAN
Fans of Glendale’s Alex Theatre were given a final chance to explore the inner workings of the venue on Sunday before the doors were closed for renovation. Guests of the open house were invited to tour the entirety of the theatre while learning about the planned expansion and past productions.
The venue’s neon spire, an iconic 100-foot landmark on Glendale’s skyline, went dark at the conclusion of the event. It will be relit in November at the onset of the winter production calendar.
The open house was hosted by Glendale Arts, which manages the Alex Theatre, and was sponsored by the Walt Disney Company.
“The whole idea for us is that the open house served as a symbolic closing of the books for the last 20 years while looking forward to the theatre reopening after renovations,” said Glendale Arts CEO Elissa Glickman. “It gave people the chance to see the Alex as it has been since the 1993 restoration.”
The tour gave patrons the opportunity to meet members of the theatre’s technical and administrative staff and ask questions about past productions or the benefits of the upcoming construction. Architectural drawings were also displayed onstage, outlining the expansion plans.
Renovations for the venue will add 6,600 square feet to the backstage facilities, including a freight elevator, additional dressing rooms, and improved loading access. Construction on the 88-year-old theatre is already underway.
While the upcoming renovations to the Alex Theatre brought much of the night’s focus to the anticipatory optimism of future productions, supporters were also given a glimpse into the venue’s long legacy within the community.
“We at Glendale Arts have always considered the Alex to be the ‘people’s house’; it is a great place for people to celebrate the past and raise money for future endeavors,” said Glickman. “I think a big thing that we are proud of is that we have helped to generate a great deal of income for businesses around the Alex Theatre as well as for a host of nonprofits and community promoters.”
Since the previous renovations in 1993, the Alex has hosted an estimated 5,000 events and helped generate $16 to $17 million in the community, according to Glendale Arts. The theatre has a long history as a focal point of community fundraising, dating back to selling war bonds for the government during World War II.