Sven Miller

Sven Miller was a theatre impresario who moved from Montana to Seattle in the 1880's. On March 17, 1884, Miller opened the Alhambra Theatre, a vaudeville and stock theatre venue, on Second Street between Main and Washington Streets. Opening a month earlier than James W. Smith's new Bijou Theatre, the Alhambra was an immediate success. Miller paid his performers well in order to maintain his advantage over Smith's Bijou theatre, which for a time, guaranteed the Alhambra's success. Eventually, however, Miller ran out of money. One Monday morning in April, Miller's staff arrived at the theatre to collect their last week's wages to find that Miller had skipped town, running to Victoria, B.C. to escape his debts. Initially, headliners Bobby Gaylor and his wife attempted to run the theatre, but a disagreement with Miller's creditors, Hotaling and Company, prevented the Gaylors' efforts. The actors then were absorbed into various other local companies, the Gaylors themselves moving to the Bijou Theatre. Miller returned from Victoria to attempt to rescue his theatre, but Hotaling and Co. declared that Miller had forfeited any right to consideration, and the theatre was auctioned off to J.P. Howe on June 7th. After this brief foray into Seattle's theatre business, Miller fades from the record, though Bobby Gaylor, his wife, and J. P. Howe would go on to achieve greater success.

Cultural Identity: 
Elliot, Eugene C. A History of Variety-Vaudeville in Seattle from the Beginning. Seattle : University of Washington Press, 1944. Print.