The performing arts such as theater, music and more are alive in the Jacksonville area. From the Jacksonville Symphony to the Florida Theatre, the choices are endless. But what does it take to put on these performances? It takes talent, heart and passion to create these encore-worthy performances, and we have those kind of people in Jacksonville.
“Everybody has a nine to five job here,” says Sadie LaManna, a volunteer at Players by the Sea, “We don’t get paid. So you have to be here because you love it. And that passion is what makes us all work, makes all the moving parts from, from the people that you see on stage to the creative side, the directors, we’re all volunteers.”
Players by the Sea hosts many different performances and features actors in the local area. For over 50 years, they have been working with volunteers in all of their shows. They’re currently rehearsing for their newest show, Godspell which will open on December 4th.
“That’s what I really love about theater, is that it causes you to think, you can be entertained, you can cry you can laugh it evokes all these different emotions you might not be in touch with day to day,” says LaManna.
Not far from Players by the Sea, is a well-known dinner theater that has hosted local talent and celebrities for almost 50 years. The Alhambra Theatre and Dining is the longest running dinner theater in the United States and is the oldest Equity Actor’s Union theater. It takes almost 100 employees to run the Alhambra, from the wait staff to the stage crew.
“I grew up going to theater and watching musicals. While kids were watching Barney, I was watching My Fair Lady and Brigadoon and really old classic movies,” says Kelsey Clifford, stage manager for the current show at Alhambra, “I started performing and I got really lucky and I got to work [at Alhambra] and it’s been a dream come true. I’ve gotten to do everything that most people only dream about doing. It’s something I would love to do for the rest of my life.”
Clifford has worked at the Alhambra for three year. However, she has done every job possible at the theater. From stage crew to main star, Clifford has had a piece of everything. While she was in many shows growing up and worked in the administrative side, stage-managing a show has always been her passion. ”I love being in charge of creating the show. The show can’t go on without the actors and the stage manager to run the show and I love making that creative atmosphere happen,” says Clifford.