MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Saenger Theatre will have new management soon. Two big companies with large presences in the Mobile area are partnering to bring The Saenger back.
SMG, a company that currently manages The Civic Center and Convention Center in Mobile will partner with a company known as Huka, which manages The Hangout Fest and other concerts in the southeast.
The City of Mobile seems to be pretty optimistic about the partnership, but some Mobilians are a little skeptical.
"If we're talking about SMG. Everything's perception, and the perception from the people of Mobile is they haven't done what they needed to do," said Dale Taylor with the Saenger Night Live Variety Show. "So now you're telling us they're going to come in and run the Saenger. Well the only light in that, would be the fact that they're bringing in Huka, who's proven (through) The Hangout, New Orleans based acts and so on and so forth."
Some locals said The Civic Center and The Convention Center haven't been used to their fullest potential, and worry the Saenger will have the same fate.
However, the city of Mobile stresses that The Civic Center has done better in the last two years since SMG took management.
SMG is a global company that manages The Superdome, and other big-ticket buildings. The company said it has a good track record in Mobile.
"The Convention Center is very, very busy. The management over there is very effective, and it has more event dates than most convention centers its size in other markets," said SMG spokesman Sam Voisin.
SMG will actually manage the building, and Huka will be in charge of finding profitable acts for the theatre.
The company said it's looking forward to diversifying Saenger events, broadening audiences, and reviving Saenger's rich culture.
"Now since we're buying for so many venues in the southeast, we have the ability to route those shows along the I-10 stretch, Florida Panhandle and come straight to Mobile," explained Huka producer Dan Merker.
Huka said it hopes to bring around two to eight shows a month to the theatre.
The city of Mobile said that it only had two management companies from which to choose, and SMG was the most practical and beneficial choice for the city.
It will ultimately be up to a vote by the city council.
City spokesmen said that if the companies don't work out well for Mobile, the city will replace them.
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