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Something for Everyone: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Programming at the Alex Theatre

By Community, Glendale Arts Needs Your Support - Act Now

Weekly Blog by Maria Sahakian, COO

“There’s no business like show business…” The work of show business is challenging, rewarding, and requires equal parts passion, business acumen, and a sense of duty to the patrons and performers we serve on both sides of the curtain.

The Alex Has Got Talent

We like to say that Glendale Arts offers something for everyone with our versatile programming – a reflection of the Alex being located in the entertainment capital of the world and at the center of a bustling, yet tight-knit community.

The Theatre’s backstage signing wall reads like a who’s who of popular performers and high-profile figures in entertainment and media, among them members of the Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots, Robby Krieger from The Doors, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and filmmaker/comedian Kevin Smith, who returned to sign the wall three weeks after surviving a widely-publicized heart attack backstage at the Alex while filming his Showtime special. His note to us read: “Thanks to the good folks at the Alex for keeping me alive! You have my heart!”

The Alex is also home to three of LA’s top performing arts institutions – Resident Companies Los Angeles Ballet, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Their performances are routinely featured on just about every “Best Things To Do in LA” list published and consistently rank as audience favorites.

Courtesy of GMCLA

Last but certainly not least, as the fourth largest city in LA County, Glendale has its own creative ecosystem of artists and producers working behind-the-scenes who present their work on our stage, along with countless organizations (too many to name!) that benefit from having a large, professionally-operated gathering space for functions like fundraisers and receptions in their backyard.

Location, Location, Location

Have you ever seen camera equipment set up under our marquee and wondered what production is filming at the Theatre or spotted the instantly recognizable features of the Alex on your favorite TV show or comedy special? Or perhaps you’ve heard David Letterman on Netflix riffing about the Theatre’s name – the “Al Theatre,” he called it – in one of the two episodes of his series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction that were filmed at the Alex.

Courtesy of Netflix

The Alex Theatre is a go-to venue for location scouts and managers, who Glendale Arts works with closely to keep the Theatre top-of-mind for projects that call for everything from a big concert scene with hundreds of extras in the audience to more intimate scenes featuring a pair of actors trading dialog with our upstairs bar starring as the backdrop.

Filming is one of the only activities that was permitted during the 16-month shutdown due to the pandemic. Several shows were shot at the Alex during this time, including the new American Horror Story spin-off American Horror Stories, which aired on FX last month. More releases are anticipated in the coming months – stay tuned for updates from us.

It’s All in the Details

Glendale Arts operates the 1,400-seat Alex Theatre as a full-service rental venue. This means we employ an in-house team dedicated to the day-to-day operations of the Alex and provide booking, box office, production, and event management services. Last year, through a generous grant from The Ahmanson Foundation, we launched a brand-new amenity – a digital media department that provides filming and streaming capabilities.

There are hundreds of details involved in getting every show you attend or hear about from concept to stage. Does the routing of a tour sync with the availability on our calendar? Is the Theatre’s seating capacity the right size for the show? Is the stage big enough for the set? What’s the production’s venue budget? And that’s just scratching the surface!

Once the ball is rolling, our knowledgeable and welcoming team gets right to work on collaborating with the producer or promoter, or the artists themselves – usually months in advance – to nail down all the details and ensure that come showtime, giving the audience a memorable experience is the spotlight everyone is focused on.

Alex Theatre Reopening

That brings us to one of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds: “When is the Alex reopening to the public?” We’re happy to report that in the next couple of weeks, you can expect to receive updates and announcements about on-sales for our first set of shows since March 2020!

Everyone at Glendale Arts has been diligently working to implement the safe and successful return of our eager patrons and loyal clients who have made the Alex their home, and we cannot wait to raise the curtain and see you all again soon.

Alex Theatre Management Agreement

Of course, the other big topic on everyone’s minds is how the process behind Glendale Arts securing our next term as the operator of the Alex is developing. Last week, we submitted our final proposal to the City of Glendale. We look forward to sharing a positive update about the outcome in the coming weeks and remain thankful to everyone in our extended network for your ongoing support.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you – what are the top five acts or shows you’d want to see at the Alex? Send me an email and let me know at

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