Elvis, The Beatles, Abba, Elton John and More are in the Buidling at the Alhambra in 2014
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis is in the building. As will be The Beatles, Branson on the Road, Abba and Elton John - or at least exceptional facsimiles thereof when the Alhambra Theatre & Dining adds a new concert series to its 2014 line up.
For 46 years the Alhambra has featured eight or nine shows of traditional theatrical fare - musicals, comedies, dramas - each lasting five or six weeks at a time. In this 47th season of America's longest-running professional dinner theater, ownership has added some new fare, offering guests a series of five concert shows running for one week in between shows on its regular theatrical schedule.
Alhambra After Dark was started four years ago to introduce productions that were non-traditional in nature for the Alhambra, experimenting in comedy nights, big band dancing and even trivia events. Said Managing partner, Craig Smith, "Alhambra After Dark has given us license to go off-rand and try some new things. We have decided that it really needs to focus on concerts with a different culinary experience than what our guests have been used to." He continued, "our goal is certainly to offer our valued core of current guests another reason to visit us, but we also hope to appeal to a new audience that may have heard about our improvements at The Alhambra, but simply may not be theater people. Our research tells us that concert style shows in an intimate environment such as the Alhambra is missing in our market, and we are excited to fill that void. We will continue to add these types of shows, whether for a week or a night and someday we hope to attract current pop, country and rock acts to our venue."
The Alhambra After Dark Music Series opens February 6-9 with "Elvis the Show," starring Kevin Mills. Mills is one of the world's most renowned Elvis impersonators and has performed to packed houses all over the world. On July 31, 1969, at the International Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, Elvis Presley performed live for the first time in nine years. His 58 consecutive sold-out shows broke all Las Vegas attendance records. "Elvis the Show" takes the audience right back to those days at the International Hilton with the incredible Kevin Mills. It is apparent as soon as he walks on stage: not only does Kevin capture the essence of the King of Rock-n-Roll, but he is an incredible performer in his own right. "Elvis the Show" recreates those live performances down to the last detail. In 2010 Kevin was a finalist at Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contents in Memphis. His success reflects not only his accomplishments and beliefs, but also an incredible love for live and entertaining.
The globally popular Beatlemania Again will run March 20-22, bringing The Fab Four to Jacksonville. Branson on the Road, billed as "America's Favorite Road Show," runs May 1-4. "Branson on the Road" features musicians and singers who replicate the critically acclaimed stage shows of Branson, Missouri. The remaining two shows are still to be determined, but Mr. Smith and his team are working diligently at bringing in top-level national talent.
"I have to admit, I thought this might be a little easier, but turning the dials from theater producer to concert promoter is a whole new set of skills for us. We have some acts lined up, and they will be exceptional, but we wanted to make sure we at least started spreading the word about the series so people don't miss out."
Executive Chef DeJuan Roy also promises some surprises. Each Alhambra After Dark show will feature its own menu and allow his team to explore some culinary styles different than traditional Alhambra fare. Said Chef Roy, "Our guests are going to see some dishes that might be a little edgier than what they are used to. We take great pride in our regular menus and have fun with our ability to change it with each show. We Also thought it was important to keep our 'dinner and a show' concept in tact because it's truly what separates us from any other venue, but being able to go off-brand means we can treat out guests to some unique flavor palettes. My team is really excited about digging into these shows and showing off a little bit of their creativity on a more regular basis.
Similar to the Alhambra's regular schedule, pricing will range from $38-59, including the Alhambra After Dark concert, dinner and parking. Show times will also be similar with curtain at 8:00 PM. Doors open at 5:45 PM and dinner will be served until 7:30 PM. Group sales are available. Call the box office at 904.641.1212 or www.alhambrajax.com.