When the new Alhambra Theater & Dining opens it’s production of Bruce Allen Scudder’ Christmas Carole, it will mark the 21th time in the last 23 years for the Christmas classic at the nation’s longest running professional dinner theater.
The Alhambra will celebrate the start of its fifth season under the management of Theatre Partners LLC and the leadership of Managing Partner, Craig Smith. In November of 2009, Smith opened the iconic theater after a brief hiatus, and launched his first campaign with Christmas Carole. Since then, the Alhambra has alternated between Christmas Carole and other holiday classics. Last season the Alhambra showed White Christmas and in 2010 it ran the It’s a Wonderful Life, the Radio Play, which returns for 2014.
“It is truly, truly hard to believe that this is our fifth season,” commented Smith. “At the same time, when I look around and see how far we have come, it seems like forever ago that we began this journey. It’s even more remarkable that most of the people are the same, and how dedicated they have been to me, to this theater and to our guests. All of our success is because of the hard work of these folks.” Smith also commented on how the Alhambra’s popularity has continued to improve, with a steady rise in attendance and season ticket renewal. “While we keep improving the product, it has been with the support of the media for the arts community and the loyalty of our guests that have gotten is this far. We continue working every day toward constant improvement and new ways to surprise our guests.”
The role of Ebenezer Scrooge will be played by Gary Marachek, who took over the role form Tony Triano in 2011. Marachek actually played the part when the Alhambra first produced Christmas Carol 23 years ago. Also in the cast will be some familiar faces: Ken Uibel will make his annual appearance as Bob Marley and each of the ghost characters. Uibel is the only cast member to appear in all 21 showing of Christmas Carole.
Of course, a holiday tradition would be less satisfying without a traditional holiday meal to accompany it. The Alhambra’s Executive Chef, DeJuan Roy, will prepare a holiday feast that includes: a fresh garden salad with candied nuts and an herb vinaigrette dressing. Entrees include a choice of three pre-set plates. The first plate includes carved honey-baked ham with mustard glaze, sweet potato soufflé, cornbread stuffing and green beans with candied pecans. The second plate features parmesan-crusted salmon with pesto, sweet potato soufflé and oven roasted vegetables. There is also a vegetarian plate that includes roasted acorn squash stuffed with cornbread dressing served with sautéed kale and sweet potato soufflé. Desserts include Chef DeJuan’s Chocolate Mousse, Crème Broulet French Toast and Dutch apple pie.
The Alhambra will also begin its annual toy drive with the start of Christmas Carole. Toys collected form patrons will be collected in the Alhambra lobby, and then delivered by the cast to area charities. Details and specific charities are still being determined. Over the past four seasons the Alhambra has delivered more than 3,500 toys to Daniel Home for Children, Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital and several shelters.
“Christmas Carole” opens December 3, 2013. Show times are 8:00 PM for evening shows Tuesday through Sunday. Doors open at 6:00 PM and meal at 6:30 PM. Matinees on Saturday are at 1:15 PM. Doors open at 11:00 AM and the buffet starts at 11:15 AM. Sunday matinee is at 2:00. Doors open at noon and the meal starts at 12:15 PM. Group sales are available. Tickets start at $46 for adults and $35 for children. Ticket price includes dinner, show and parking. Call the box office at 904.641.1212 or visit on line at
About the new Alhambra Theatre & Dining
The Alhambra Theatre is the nation’s longest continually-operating professional dinner theatre and the only professional resident theatre between Atlanta and Miami. Opened in 1967, The Alhambra has hosted legends such as Tony Curtis, Claude Aiken, Sid Cesar and Cesar Romero, and, recently, Loretta Swit. The Alhambra was the place of Betty Grable’s final acting role. The Alhambra is also home to former Miss America, Orange Park native Leanza Cornett who started at the Alhambra when she was 15. In November 2009, the Alhambra was purchased by Theatre Partners, LLC, headed by Jacksonville entrepreneur and Alhambra patron, Craig Smith as way to give back to Jacksonville and preserve what he believes is one of its cultural jewels.


april, 2022