The Alhambra has been in a fixture in Jacksonville community for over 40 years. In ’84 it was bought by Tod Booth, who continued the proud tradition. By the late 2000s, Booth was relying heavily on out-of-town tickets, mainly from the Red Hat Society and other social clubs. But when the recession hit, this group shrunk considerably.
The Alhambra was close to closing at the end of 2009, but a group of businessmen called the Theatre Partner’s Managing group and spread-headed by Craig Smith, came in to the rescue.
While they’ve always had community support, I think the aim today is to get more locals in their door, locals that may have abandoned the old Alhambra because of the food or the tired décor; and locals that had never been to the Alhambra.
From what I could see, the audience demographic has slightly changed. While dinner theather is still the purview of the blue hairs, there were more people there under the age of 30 who hadn’t been dragged there by a well-meaning parent. The age range range was wider than I’d seen it at the Alhambra (notwithstanding their yearly Christmas Carole production).