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Theatric History: The Historic Alabama Theatre

Updated on July 21, 2016

History in The Making

Originally, the Alabama Theatre seated 2,500 patrons and they sat all around the stage.  It's been renovated several times and it stays true to the first rendering.
Originally, the Alabama Theatre seated 2,500 patrons and they sat all around the stage. It's been renovated several times and it stays true to the first rendering. | Source
The inside of the Alabama Theatre is a sight to behold indeed. Many old fashioned relics are hanging all around the auditorium.
The inside of the Alabama Theatre is a sight to behold indeed. Many old fashioned relics are hanging all around the auditorium. | Source
The Alabama Theatre has hosted many live plays including The Diary of Ann Frank which was a truly special event.
The Alabama Theatre has hosted many live plays including The Diary of Ann Frank which was a truly special event. | Source
Music, plays and dancing are featured at the Alabama Theatre. Also, school bands perform competition at the theatre.
Music, plays and dancing are featured at the Alabama Theatre. Also, school bands perform competition at the theatre. | Source

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A Piece of Alabama's Storied History

The Alabama Theater first opened it's doors in 1927 and it still operates over 80 years later. It seats almost 2,500 people and it has held plays, dances, concerts and films in it's main theater room. Alabamians and people from all over the country visit this landmark annually to see it's grandeur. There's a play that is coming up at the end of June (2014) that costs $8.00. As you can see, the theater is very affordable even to this day. I went to The Alabama Theater, with a group from high school. We went to see a play and we had a great day away from school. This was a great place to visit. When I was in high school, I was interested in acting and theater. While we were in church we were in every play or musical that was available. When you visit here for a play or musical, you can feel the history, that surrounds the area.

The National Register of Historic Places added it to it's list in 1979. The Miss Alabama Pageant used this historic building many times as did The Mickey Mouse Club and several touring musicians played here. It is like seeing history right before your eyes or a historical exhibit of some sort.

Many dramatic plays including The Diary of Anne Frank were performed at this marvel. Each year there are over 300 events including Ballet, Opera and Broadway plays. Thousands of people come visit this landmark every year from all over the globe. The Alabama Theater at one time became the Alabama Movie Theater playing movies that were played at normal movie theaters. It is quite nice to be able to watch a movie from a high rise balcony. The view is so much better. This is a very unique, old time way of watching shows. This is the "go to" place to view a play in Alabama.

The Organ: This keyboard organ is called Big Bertha because of it's enormous size. Only three remain intact in the world and the organ has twenty nine sets of pipes and a sound effects modulator to use during the showing of silent films. Upon entry to the Alabama Theater you can see the organ. One last foot note: Big Bertha was added to Alabama's register of Landmarks and Heritage in 1977.

The Alabama Theater is a definite remnant of yesteryear and must see for history buffs or lovers of Theater and Broadway. The ceilings are very tall and the curtains and drapes are so big and tall that you can not see the very top of them. There are front row seats but, the seats in the balcony are truly first class. The stage is humongous and it is hard wood oak. Smoke, lights, fireworks and other special effects are sometimes used during certain performances but, it is the original Broadway style shows and plays that stand out and bring the play goer to a time along time ago. This building screams roaring 20s throughout and even though the organ is the single biggest item at the Alabama Theater. There are many other items such as hanging pictures, portraits and paintings. Not to mention, the building itself which is dashed with gold leaves throughout.The building has been restored in areas but the curtains, stage and seating remains of old.

Just an after thought on the food. Each time I have visited the food was a bit pricey but, at the same time it was delicious. The three events I have attended at this historic landmark are: The Diary of Ann Frank (1987), The Nutcracker (1992) and Cats (2005) and it was entertaining to say the least each visit. The theater is open year round and if you call and reserve tickets for certain events or plays you can save a bunch of money. It's definitely a place to visit if your ever traveling through Alabama or of course if you live here already.

The parking is not great for this particular venue. You have to park far away for large events and the price that is charged for parking, is too high. Pile a lot of people in your car to make it worth the price for parking.

You can check out Alabamatheatre.com for future events.

Please feel free to leave your opinions and thoughts at the bottom of this page in the comments box.

Historic Theatre Ranking

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Night Time At The Alabama Theatre

The Alabama Theatre hosts shows in the daytime and at night. They are very famous for hosting plays and musicals.
The Alabama Theatre hosts shows in the daytime and at night. They are very famous for hosting plays and musicals. | Source

Places To Go In Bama

Alabama Theatre
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Waterville USA
Gulf Shores
Splash Beach
Rocky Branch State Park
McWayne Center
Orange Beach
Talladega Super Speedway
Oak Mountain State Park
Vulcan Park
Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
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Phantom of The Opera at The Alabama Theatre

Location of Alabama Theatre

Robert Plant Performing at The Alabama Theatre

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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