Atlanta’s Fox Theatre Tour Review – Glimpse the City’s Soul in a Historic Landmark Building

 

As Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre celebrates its 125th year, every visitor to one of its dance, music or otherperformances gets to see the wonderful tribute film with its cameo of a happily married couple who became engaged moons ago in the Auditorium’s halls.  Everyone who has gone there might not be able to pinpoint the same sort of milestone, but the building is a repository of happy memories for the generations.

 

 

It seems like Atlanta’s Fox Theater fills that same space in the hearts of Atlantans. 

 

 

When the multiplex cinemas that blossomed in the 70’s challenged Fox Theatre’s raison d’etre, a “Save the Fox” Campaign sprung up to make sure it survived.  Locals created Atlanta Landmarks Inc. to buy the property using everything from bake sales to grand fund raisers to acquire not only the theater but also much of the property surrounding it. 

 

 

This is the 40th Anniversary of that campaign, and just like Chicago’s Auditorium Theater, the Fox is setting out to make a documentary preserving this history.

 

 

That’s not the only thing being preserved. 

 

 

According to Dominic Bruno, Operations Manager of Fox Theatre, this is the world’s only theater with a full-time restoration department.  

 

 

In the past forty years more than 36 million dollars has been spent on this ongoing restoration.  Every time you attend an event at the Fox your ticket price includes a $3 surcharge specifically for building restoration.

 

 

And what an amazing edifice it is!  With minarets, six-point star motifs aplenty, faux finishes throughout and Egyptian art deco themed touches and other suggestions of the mysterious Orient, the building reflects its original purpose as the grand salon and headquarters of the Shriners in 1929. 

 

 

Pretty soon the Shriners realized that they had bitten off more than they could chew.  They needed help.

 

 

Enter movie mogul William Fox who spared no budgets to make the building grander still in belief that this in itself would draw audiences.

 

 

Fox's grand designs did help draw audiences!  The building was opened at the start of the Great Depression and remained open throughout.

 

 

The advent of multiplex cinemas and suburban migration almost brought the Fox to a permanent close.  That’s when the heartstrings of Atlantas were pulled to rally an effort to save the building with the “Save the Fox” campaign that is now marking its 40th Anniversary. 

 

 

The main theater boasts 4,668 seats and as many as 300 events each year that as many as 750,000 attend. 

 

You can book a worthwhile tour of the Fox via their website.  You’ll learn that its famous marquis uses over 3300 LED bulbs today.  You’ll see how the entire theater space is cantilevered such that there are no posts interfering with views.  The faux stars in the ceiling above will twinkle and you will learn how and why.  Perhaps most amazingly, you’ll see the great efforts that have been taken to preserve the original designs, such as the grill on a balcony speaker that is part of the sound system that has been painted to imperceptibly blend in with the Turkish carpet weave that surrounds it.

 

For more information on events and tours during your stay visit the Fox Theatre website.

 

Fox Theatre

660 Peachtree St. NE

Atlanta, Georgia

 

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Photos courtesy of Fox Theatre, unless otherwise indicated

 

 

 

 

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