By Tim Gonzalez-Wiler, Director of Guest Services and Sales
Our brand promise at The 5th Avenue Theatre is to “hit the high note.” We strive for this in everything we do—from the Broadway-caliber shows you see on our stage to the first-class treatment you receive from our incredible Guest Services team. And as anyone that has visited our theater can attest, the oohs and ahs begin before the curtain even rises. We are blessed to call home one of America’s largest historic theaters—our 2,061-seat, 1926 Chinese-inspired “movie palace.” It’s one of the highlights of my job to watch our guests’ faces when they enter our exquisite lobby for the first time, see that expression of wonder on their faces, and hear the exclamations of, “I never realized something this beautiful was right here in Downtown Seattle.”
I had that same guest revelatory experience at my previous job as well. For anyone that has ever visited Teatro ZinZanni, Seattle’s one-of-a-kind mix of cirque, cabaret, and dinner theatre, you know what I’m talking about. Teatro ZinZanni performs in a gorgeous antique, Belgian Spiegeltent (“mirror tent”) that we always would say is the final member of the cast. With its red velvet, gold brocade, dark woods, and antique mirrored columns, the Spiegeltent is literally the star of the show before the show even begins, much in the same way the beauty of The 5th Avenue Theatre’s lobby and auditorium whisks you away to a magical place before a single person sets foot on the stage.
It was also at Teatro ZinZanni, in 2007, that I first met Matthew White, owner of White Branches Boutique. Matthew was, at that time, the Merchandise and Product Development Manager at TZ. He took their understated gift shop and energized it with gorgeous boutique items, like masks, jewelry, boas, hats, tiaras, fine art, and more. He made shopping at Teatro ZinZanni something as anticipated as the show you were about to see. People were no longer just buying souvenirs of their show experience. They were shopping for one-of-a-kind apparel, accessories and gifts. In fact, when I first mentioned the idea of partnering with White Branches to 5th Avenue Theatre Managing Director, Bernie Griffin, she told me how much she loved it and always found something amazing to buy. We were all sold by Matthew’s charm, his guest services focus, his impeccable taste in the product, his 30 years experience in the field, and his passion for product development.
White Branches will still be providing boutique operations at Teatro ZinZanni, which will reopen this November in Woodinville, but they are also branching out…to The 5th!
The 5th Avenue Theatre and White Branches are ecstatic to introduce our new boutique experience in the lobby of our historic downtown Seattle venue. The 5th Avenue Theatre Boutique by White Branches will take over the main floor merchandise area and will add two artistically-designed boutique wardrobe cabinets in the upper mezzanine lobby to offer more shopping locations. They will feature show souvenirs (for 5th-produced shows), all new 5th Avenue Theatre-branded merchandise, and White Branches signature boutique items.
Matthew describes his business as, “I design artistic boutique wardrobe cabinets that, upon being opened, become stunning merchandise displays with sparkling jewelry, unique mask and dress attire items.” Unfortunately, the gorgeous boutique cabinets that Matthew has personally designed and created for The 5th will always be open when guests are present, so you won’t get to see them in all their glory. I’m thrilled though to share photos here on this blog. They are each one-of-a-kind, beautiful pieces of furniture, and we wouldn’t want you to miss out by never seeing them closed.
What lies inside? Well, you’ll just have to come down and see.
Our season begins with the highly-anticipated Broadway National Tour of Come From Away, and the tour will be selling Come From Away merchandise on the main floor of the lobby. They have graciously given us permission to have our mezzanine cabinets open for business during the run.
The Come From Away Merchandise Booth, The 5th Avenue Theatre Boutique by White Branches and our bar and concessions partner, Palomino Restaurant, will all be open for business when the lobby opens 45 minutes prior to the show start time with the auditorium opening at 30 minutes before curtain. Come From Away’s running time is approximately 100 minutes with no intermission. With an audience of over 2,000 and a lobby that fits about 500, it does get a little bit crowded in the lobby, and we thank you for your patience. We will keep the boutique and the Come From Away merchandise booth open after the show for sales in case you run out of time before the show.
Get tickets to Come From Away, playing October 9 – November 4, 2018 at The 5th Avenue Theatre.