I love surprises and my love language to others is definitely gifts. So, when I snagged tickets to the final showing of Seussical the Musical at Alhambra Dinner Theatre, I decided to take Tara and Madilyn on a surprise double date. I somehow managed to keep it a secret all the way until we pulled into the theater parking lot. And they were so excited once they realized what we were doing, a first for both of them!
The Alhambra Dinner Theatre opened in Jacksonville in 1967 and is the nation’s longest continually running dinner theatre. In 2009, the entire building was remodeled and has remained a symbol of entertainment, history and a place of celebration and friendship. I have visited the Alhambra many, many times over the years and seen more shows than I can keep track of. But it is still one of my favorite places to spend an evening. Last year I took Adam to the Alhambra for the first time to see Shrek the Musical and I was excited to take Tara and Madilyn for their first time as well.
We walked into the theater and snagged a couple of photos with the props they had coordinating with the show. (I forgot my phone at the house but thankfully Tara and Adam took some of their own.)
We were then escorted to our seats where we had a perfect view of the stage. The Alhambra theater is set up as an authentic theater. The farthest seat from the stage is still only 75 feet away! So needless to say, there’s not a bad seat in the house.
Our server, Austin, came over to the table and took our drink orders. He was very attentive throughout the whole night. The servers work as a team to make sure patrons have the best experience possible.
Dinner is served before the show. The menu is always full of delicious dishes that are typically named to go along with the show. Dinner includes a first course salad or soup, a main dish, and dessert. Water and tea are also included, though sodas and alcoholic beverages can be purchased from the bar for reasonable prices. (Adam and I splurged on a couple of glasses of wine.)
I started with the salad, followed by Sam I Am’s Meatloaf, and a hot fudge sundae to finish off the meal. My meal was delicious. Adam had Sally’s Shrimp and Scallop Stuffed Flounder which was also really good. (I snagged a bite.) Tara tried Cindy Lou’s Chicken Piccata and said it was really good as well. We all cleaned our plates if that tells you how much we enjoyed the food.
Tara got star struck when she realized that Charles Shaughnessy (whom you may know from his role in The Nanny) was seated at the table behind us. She even geeked out and introduced herself… and then took creeper photos of him from our table.
We got a chance to chat with Craig Smith, the owner of the Alhambra, and Tod Booth, the Creative Director, both of which took time on the stage during the night to thank the audience for their patronage and brag (rightfully so) about the wonderful works of the actors.
Once dinner is finished and cleaned up, the show starts.
Show images courtesy of the Alhambra Facebook page.
“Experience this fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza! Based on the Dr. Seuss books, Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and other characters from the whimsical imagination of Dr. Seuss come together in this musical. Seussical is fun for the whole family!”
The acting was so great that you forget you’re sitting in a small theater in Jacksonville, Florida. Many of the actors are local talent. (One of the actors even sings in the choir at my church!) They were fantastic! The Cat in the Hat was my favorite character though it was a tight race between him and Gertrude McFuzz.
During the first part of the show, Madilyn’s eyes were glued to the stage. She didn’t budge. She was captivated by the story, which is a lot to say for a rambunctious 5-year-old. There was a brief intermission where we used the restroom and paid our drink tab. And then the final act of the show began and concluded with a thundering final song that got the audience up on their feet with applause.
After the show, the actors gathered in the lobby for photos and to shake hands with everyone. Madilyn had no desire to take any photos but us adults snagged a couple of photos with The Cat in the Hat.
We had such a great time. If you’re looking for a place for date night or an excuse to go out with friends, I cannot recommend The Alhambra Dinner Theatre enough. Unfortunately there are no more performances of Seussical the Musical but all of the shows are really great. (If you want my opinion, go to a showing of The Christmas Carole in December.) The Alhambra Dinner Theatre offers a Broadway theater experience at an affordable price.
For more information on The Alhambra Dinner Theatre, to see the 2015 Show Schedule, or to purchase tickets, visit alhambrajax.com.