For the past few months, there has been some uncertainty with what would happen with one of downtown’s jewels, The Saenger Theater. Though the theater never went totally dark, it was on life support for several months while it’s future was being sorted out by the city. But this evening, SMG and HUKA want people to know it is back alive and kicking.
Tonight at 6 p.m., the two groups will hold a grand reopening at the historic theater, but that’s not all. At 7 p.m. Wet Willie and Port City Rising II will perform. Tickets are free, but they are required to get into the concert. Tickets are still available at 92 ZEW, Heroes Sports Bar and Pita Pit, which are all located on Dauphin Street. There will also be tickets tonight at the Saenger box office, but they are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Initially there was some concern over its future after the Centre for Living Arts washed its hands of managing it on March 10. The city of Mobile went through a lengthy process to select the new management company and on Aug. 28, SMG was suggested to manage while Huka was partly responsible for booking events.
A few delays with the Mobile City Council over contract issues caused some concern the theater would have to go dark. However that wasn’t the case and SMG and Huka took over on Oct. 1.
SMG Regional General Manager Sam Voisin explained the reasoning for the theater’s grand reopening by SMG and Huka Entertainment, which took over the theater management and booking on Oct. 1.
“SMG and Huka wanted to have the ribbon cutting or grand reopening and free concert to show what’s on tap for Mobile’s future,” he said. “The bands Wet Willie and Port City Rising II are acts that will provide that local flavor we want with the facility, but we will also be announcing major acts tonight.”
Voisin said the schedule for the upcoming months would be released during the 6 p.m. press conference. Also part of the announcements are three “major” acts coming to Mobile’s Saenger, Voisin said.
When SMG and Huka took over management and booking respectively for the Saenger, they committed to involving the community.
One way they are doing that is by getting photos of people at the Saenger to share the community’s experiences at the historic theater.
“The Faces of the Saenger program is where we ask the community for their pictures at the Saenger and then showcase them,” Voisin said. “There will be a wall of those photos that puts the citizens in the spotlight.”
Voisin said the two groups in charge of the Saenger are looking forward to making the theater the vibrant jewel of Mobile it once was.
“SMG and Huka are very proud to have been put in place to bring the Saenger back to what it should be, and it will be a successful venue with diversity in its programing,” he said. “There will also be economic impact for the downtown businesses as a result of the Saenger.”
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