Alex Theatre shows strong in first fiscal-year quarter

After taking out expenses, the Alex Theatre reported a $148,000 gain in its latest quarter, far outperforming its six-figure deficit the historic venue faced the same time a year before.

The net amount is for the theater’s first fiscal-year quarter between July and September 2015, while the Alex was $124,000 in the hole in the same time frame in 2014.

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The gross amount was $430,000 before staffing and other expenses were taken into account, according to a city staff report.

A stronger fundraising effort and booking more productions over the summer — typically considered a slow time of the year — were some of the improvement factors, said Elissa Glickman, chief executive of Glendale Arts, the nonprofit that oversees the Alex.

There was a year-long goal to get 220 bookings, and there’s already 183 of them with six months to go, she said.

Part of the stronger showing can be attributed to a $5-million face-lift the venue underwent in the past year, Glickman said.

“The expanded space made sense to [productions] in terms of how many people we can accommodate in the green room and the amount of time we can reduce with our loading dock and freight elevator is a two-fold benefit,” she said in a phone interview.

It was the first major renovation project since 1993 for the 1,400 seat theater.

The Alex Theatre used to receive an annual $415,000 allocation from the city’s Redevelopment Agency, which was shuttered by the state to trim a multibillion dollar budget crisis in 2012.

The financial obligation was then transferred to the city, which is aiming to reduce its annual contribution to $150,000 in five years.

Cassandra Pruett, an administrative officer with the city, told the City Council on Tuesday the Alex is on track to meet that goal.

“Glendale Arts is at full throttle in their efforts to improve their self-sufficiency and these efforts remain strong,” she told council members.

Pruett added that the latest quarter was the most successful the Alex has had since 2008.

There was also support from donors, who contributed more than $65,000, which fully paid for the 90th anniversary celebration for the Alex held in September.

Other than the anniversary event, there currently is no original programming on the schedule, but there will be talks about it soon, Glickman said.

“We’re looking into our own programming,” she said. “Whether we feel confident that we can step back into productions and make them profitable is something the board [of Glendale Arts] is going to have to take into consideration.”


Arin Mikailian,

Twitter: @ArinMikailian