The very first time I went to see a Broadway show in New York City, I left disappointed. It was my sophomore year of college and I had gone to New York with a friend for a day-trip over Fall Break. We got last minute tickets to see Phantom of the Opera, which I had never seen before. The acting, the music, and the show as a whole were all great. But something didn’t feel right. The theater itself was small and plain. Everyone was wearing jeans or other casual clothes. It didn’t feel like a special occasion at all. There was nothing exciting about the room. It had almost no character.
I was used to a much different theatre experience, because I had the unique privilege of growing up with the Fox Theatre in St. Louis. From the outside, the Fox looks like any other theatre.
But on the inside, it looks anything but ordinary. The theatre’s interior is one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen. It is an architectural masterpiece that looks more like a palace than a theatre, filled with gold and red hues, brass, stained glass, pillars, and sculptures.
The Fox’s elaborate decor sets the tone for an outing there. It has a much more formal feel to it than Broadway. It’s common to see heels, ties, nice dresses, and dress shirts. In my family we usually go for special occasions. But it’s the fun kind of formal. The kind that makes you feel like royalty and that makes you excited for an old-fashioned evening out on the town. Going to the Fox was always a treat.
Now home to concerts, musicals, plays, and special events, the Fox was originally built in 1929, by William Fox, to show Fox films. Architect C. Howard Crane designed the Fox, building it in a Siamese Byzantine style that contains elements of Asian and Indian architecture. Watch the video below to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Fox operates:
I’ve seen Wicked there twice, in addition to Rent, Mama Mia, the Lion King, Riverdance, and Chicago. Each trip to the Fox is memorable. While the show is always the main event, just sitting in the seats and looking around at the walls and ceiling provides entertainment in itself. I remember my siblings and I used to play games while waiting for the shows to start, trying to see who could spot the most lions and gargoyles etched into pillars, walls, or windows.
You can see why I was disappointed by Broadway–I thought every theatre looked like the Fox. Now that I know this is not true, I feel even more lucky to have experienced the Fox. The theatre’s location on Grand Boulevard is certainly fitting. To me, the Fox is the essence of grand. It is one of St. Louis’s hidden gems, and I highly recommend it.