Alhambra Theatre & Dining Will Open its Doors on June 11
Today the Alhambra Theatre & Dining announced it will open its doors on June 11 with Rogers & Hammerstein's classic, "Cinderella." Albeit with social distancing guidelines strictly enforced and capacity restricted to 50% occupancy, the Alhambra will continue its run as America's longest-running dinner theater. The re-opening plan took some juggling of seating charts and schedules, not to mention the patience of more than 10,000 guests who already had tickets for the remainder of the year, but the curtain will rise on June 11, the originally-scheduled dates for the Alhambra's run of "Cinderella." The show is scheduled to close on July 26.
Because of the social distancing guidelines related to COVID-19, the Alhambra will only be able to sell limited number of additional tickets. The show was already 70% sold out when it suspended sales in late April. Following the math of only allowing 50% capacity, the Alhambra actually added several matinee dates to accommodate the overage.
"We are thrilled to roll with whatever punches we need to open for our family of guests and staff," said Alhambra Managing Partner Craig Smith. He continued, "Our job is to provide the community a break from the day-to-day and give folks a place to go to make some memories. We're grateful we get to do our job again and that our guests and staff are so accommodating."
Adding the additional dates, Smith was quick to point out, did not allow the Alhambra to sell more tickets. It simply gave them the opportunity to seat existing ticket holders, some who were asked to switch dates and tables. "Almost to a person our guests were ready, willing and able to work with us. Our staff was willing to switch from days to nights when called upon. Our kitchen staff was happy to add day time hours to an already-busy schedule. It was really a great demonstration of being in this thing together," said Smith.
Smith recounted that the most challenging part was figuring out what to do with the remaining shows on the calendar, including the nearly-sold out, "Grease." To do that, the Alhambra is moving its run of The Music Man to 2021 and replacing it with "Grease" from July 30 to September 20. This adds two weeks to the original run of "Grease," allowing for the Alhambra to accommodate its current ticket holders ad well as take more reservations.
Said Smith, "We knew when we scheduled it that "Grease" would be a big seller for us. We had the opportunity to accommodate the 12,000 "Grease" ticket holders and honoring our commitment to "The Music Man" by simply moving it to next season." The Alhambra will allow anyone unable to use their current tickets in their new seats and date as a credit for a future show. "Love, Sex and IRS," will run as planned in late September, and with matinees added to create more seating for what Smith expects to be a strong seller.
In compliance with local, state and federal guidelines for COVID-19, the Alhambra will heighten its usual high safety standards. Staff will undergo training in safe service practices as well as what to look for regarding symptoms. All staff will be wearing masks and gloves. They have also been instructed to stay home if there is even a hint of a related symptom. In an email to ticket holders, the Alhambra has asked customers to take the same precautions, and has offered to waive the "day of" transfer fee to those needing to change dates at the last minute.
In addition the Alhambra will suspend for "Cinderella" and "Grease" its Opening Night Gala pre- and post-show celebrations in the lobby of the Theatre. "We take for granted our usual processes because we've been at this for so long, so we're having to review and change every contact point from food delivery to pens our guests use to sign their credit card receipt. It's been a good exercise for us in terms of efficiency."
Reconfiguring process is not new to the Alhambra, which had successfully pivoted at the beginning of the business closing period by switching from seated dining for 375 people to take-away and curbside delivery. They later added dine-in options once the options was allowed. Teh ALhambra will continue its curbside to-go dining program.
"Cinderella" opens on June 11 and runs through July 20. Please note, to accommodate the many young families attending this show, doors will open at 5:30 PM for evening shows and dinner will start at 6:00 PM. The Alhambra Theatre & Dining is located at 12000 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Tickets can be purchased by calling 904.641.1212 or on its website at www.alhambrajax.com.