The Alhambra Theatre and Dining stands proudly as one of the few remaining dinner theaters dotting North America. “The Alhambra Theatre & Dining: 50 years of Memories” is a commemorative book that was released this week, to celebrate the Alhambra’s half-a-century anniversary. Three generations of Alhambra owners (original owner Johnson, most recent owner, Tod Booth and current owner Craig Smith), will gather for a photo and be available to sign copies of this keepsake book. Joining them for a complimentary light appetizers & desserts gala will be author, Charles Day.
Written by Jacksonville biographer and former University of North Florida professor, Charles Day, the Alhambra Theatre & Dining: 50 Years of Memories, features more than 175 pages of archival photos, biographies of actors and behind the scenes stories as the book chronicles the rise, fall and rebirth of America’s longest running professional dinner theater. Mr. Day wrote the book over the course of 18 months, interviewing prior and current owners, guest stars, culinary staff, members of the press and patrons of the Alhambra. The book is handsomely designed by David Parrish as a coffee table book.
The book is broken into three chapters, appropriately-referred to as “Acts,” each highlighting a different era in Alhambra lore. From interviews with Ballis and Johnson to current owner, Craig Smith and tales from prior owner and long-term Director Tod Booth, the Alhambra’s story traces a remarkable history. Weaved among several hundred photos, newspaper clippings and historical ads, are sidebars called, “Celebrity Showcase,” which call out the remarkable and seemingly endless list of talent who graced the Alhambra’s stage.
The Alhambra has hosted legends such as Imogen Coca, Bob Crane, Lee Meredith, Dawn Wells, Mickey Rooney, Tony Curtis, Claude Aiken, Sid Cesar, Cesar Romero, and, recently the likes of Loretta Swit, Barry Williams, Jamie Farr, Sally Struthers, Joyce DeWitt, Michael Learned, Barbara Eden, Lisa Whelchel and Mike Farrell. The Alhambra is also home to former Miss America, Orange Park (FL) native Leanza Cornett, who started at the Alhambra when she was 15. Current owner Craig Smith often credits Swit for saving the Alhambra in 2010, and the book tells the story in detail. A full page is dedicated to Betty Grable’s 1973 role in “Born Yesterday.” The show opened in early January and was scheduled for three weeks. She was so popular that the show was held over for two weeks. Grable died of cancer in July of the same year. “Remarkably, despite her illness she never missed a show” — George Ballis.
"The Alhambra Theatre & Dining:
50 Years of Memories" Event
DATE: Tues., Dec. 13, 2016
TIME: 4 - 5 p.m. (3 - 4 p.m. for Season Partners only!)
BOOK PRICE: $39.99
LOCATION: Alhambra Theater & Dining
12000 Beach Blvd.
Jacksonville, Florida 32246
CALL: (904) 641-1212 to reserve your spot and a commemorative book.