by Natasha Khairullah
The former Club Five and Marquee Theatre in Five Points is open for business. But don’t expect to see the same pierced and tattooed folks from days past lined up outside its doors.
The theater, located in the Five Points Theatre building now owned by the Mike Shad Company, used to be the home of both Club Five – a venue notorious for punk and metal concerts – as well as the Marquee Theatre. Built in 1927 as Florida’s first “talkie” movie theater, it has received major renovations and opened its doors last Friday for its first multiple-night event in two years since being purchased by the family-owned company, according to Mike Shad.
“The theater’s been open for the past 15 months now and has hosted a number of private events like wedding receptions and reunions,” he said. “We’ve had a few public events as well, like an open performance by the River City Band. But this (show) is one of the first events to run consecutive nights since the theater’s reopening.”
The Mike Shad Company spent $5 million to purchase and renovate the historic building in Riverside that will now be called the Five Points Theatre and Historic Event Facility.
The Jacksonville-based production company Chancey Productions was the first to use the space for their rendition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
“We’ll be renting the place out to a number of different organizations and musical acts,” said the theater’s building manager and booking agent Susan Adams.
The Mike Shad company considered a variety of options, said Adams. Any thoughts of another bar or nightclub were abandoned after Club Five left, she added.The location’s close proximity to a church meant city government red tape barred the way to another liquor license.
“In the past, the theater was known for wild concerts and potentially dangerous activity,” said Adams. “We’re trying to change the place’s persona and create more of a community feel. The name is a reflection of that.”
The theater was purchased by the Mike Shad Company with plans of remodeling the theater as well as constructing 14 condominium and loft spaces upstairs and street-level retail. The estimated costs of the project at the time of purchase was $4.5 million.
Adams says there are a number of organizations confirmed to rent the space out over the next several months and that those confirmed are in accordance with the new “energy” the Mike Shad Company hopes the theater will embrace.
Chancey Productions, Inc., a young theatrical-production company whose aim is to produce professional and contemporary theater for the Jacksonville community, will hopefully do just that.
The company will continue to present Rocky Horror every weekend through July 14. Chancey Productions Founder Joey Chancey said the theater’s availability couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Chancey Productions is a relatively new production company and it’s been in search of the right place to open the show for awhile now,” he said. “The theater’s layout and space worked really well.”
Because the theater was closed for a number of years, many of its former patrons familiar with the venue’s live performance line-ups were surprised to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show open the theater’s doors again.
“It was almost like a resurrection,” said 29-year-old Amanda Martinez who purchased tickets for the show.
“I used to come here all the time and so I came to see this show just as a matter of principle. I felt obligated to show my support for a place that I consider to be a cultural landmark being brought back to life.”