Thursday, July 17, 2014

Photo Essay: Open House at the Restored Alex Theatre, Magic Hour

I missed the last open house at the Alex Theatre, when they were preparing for their most recent restoration.

I was a bit disappointed, because I always like getting the perspective of both the before and after. And my attraction to the beautiful decay often makes me prefer the "before."

So when I visited the Alex – the former Alexander Theatre, built in 1925 – I found myself looking for as many of its older elements and features as I could.



Its notable spire, which shines bright along Brand Boulevard at night, isn't actually original to the building, but added during a 1940 restoration by S. Charles Lee, known for his towers.



A sweeping terrazzo floor pattern leads to an adorable box office...



...an Art Deco-looking cutie that acts as a gateway to the Greek Revival forecourt...



...clearly inspired by the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.



My visit coincided with the last remaining rays of sun...



...which beamed golden through the starburst pattern of the front entrance...



...into the outer lobby.







In the inner lobby...



...you can find two lion statues that once flanked the Alex stage from 1948 to 1993, relocated and on display.



The current proscenium repeats that starburst pattern from the front...



...and although it's not the most ornate theater house in LA...



...it's also not the plainest, with some nice details...



...and a row of colored incandescent bulb lighting.



The backstage area has been adapted from that of a movie house to a full facility for live stage shows...



...which is the type of programming they are trying to become a bigger contender in.



The most recent renovation reportedly improved a lot of the Alex's behind-the-scenes features, though I managed to find one patch of what appeared to be an original wall...



...and a dressing room that wasn't quite as spiffed up as the rest.



These, of course, are the areas I love.



I was surprised they let me just walk around pretty much wherever I wanted on a "self-guided tour,"



...though as I explored every inch of the bowels of the theater, more than one staffer asked me if they could help me find something.



"No, just taking pictures," I'd say, turning every doorknob, peering around every corner, switching lights on and climbing every stair.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Upon the 90th Anniversary of the Egyptian Theatre
Partying Like It's 1922 at The Egyptian Theatre
Photo Essay: The Art Deco Theater Inside Academy Cathedral, Inglewood