By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
The city of Glendale is searching for the next operator/manager for the city’s Historic Alex Theatre, which has attracted the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Bing Crosby and Elizabeth Taylor since it opened its doors in 1925.
The RFP welcomes proposals from professional venue operators, prominent nonprofit organizations, for-profit venue management companies and potential university or government partners.
Successful applicants should have experience operating, maintaining and managing a theater, be familiar with historic resources, demonstrate financial stability and be community focused. Proposals must be submitted by 5 p.m. Thursday, March 18.
“We recognize this is a difficult time to have a conversation about how to have an active theater,” said Jennifer Hiramoto, Glendale’s acting assistant director of community development.
“During COVID, we continue to be committed to the arts and theater. Glendale wants to ensure its success. The timing may not appear to be ideal but having this attention to the arts will continue to be an important priority to the city council.”
The new management’s goals will be to establish consistent financial stability and sustainability for operations; maintain affordable accessibility for local community organizations and nonprofits; and attract top-quality entertainment clients, events and performances with great frequency.
Hiramoto said the city hopes to have a contract in place in the summer.
The Alex Theatre first served as a vaudeville house and movie palace. It continued to serve as a preview house for major Hollywood studio films through the 1950s. it has also hosted a number of high-profile clients including NBC, CBS, HBO and Hulu.
In 1992, the Glendale Redevelopment Agency purchased the Alex Theatre to serve as the centerpiece of the city’s revitalized Brand Boulevard and embarked on a $6.5 million rehabilitation of the facility. On New Year’s Eve 1993, the Alex Theatre opened as a 1,400-seat performing arts and entertainment center. The new facility included a stage expansion and new seating layouts, theatrical systems and screen.
“It’s a multiuse performing arts center,” she said. “It has beautiful neon on the front, a marquee and a very tall spire that you can see throughout Downtown Glendale.”
The theater is home to five performing arts and entertainment organizations including the LA Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Ballet and the Gay Men’s Chorus LA.
“It is a historic gem in the heart of Downtown Glendale and it’s a gem for the region,” Hiramoto said. “It’s really quite beautiful.
“Right now, the city of Glendale owns it, and we have an operator, Glendale Arts, which has been managing the theater since 2008.”
The current agreement, which has been in effect since 2015, is expiring. Glendale Arts may reapply, but the city is exploring different management structures, so the theater is managed in the best ways possible, Hiramoto said.
For information, email Hiramoto at firstname.lastname@example.org.