For the second weekend we have been taking it easy in Hot ‘Lanta. Last weekend we saw the Joan Baez concert on the great lawn of the Botanical Gardens, tonight some friend were able to get great seat down front of the balcony of the Fabulous Fox Theater where we just saw a performance of “Cats”.
For those who do not know about Atlanta’s Fox Theater it was built for as the Shriner’s Temple and was converted into a theater, where “Gone with the Wind” Premiered. The entrance is a wide, long walkway lined with large display cabinets, boxes and the once past the doors every thing is covered in gilded goldish color and plush velvet. With the building being built around the Shriners theme it has lots of Arabian decor. The inside of the theater resembles a palace interior with what looks like the top of the palace wall with lanterns and at the back of the balcony you see what looks like the Arabian tents. The ceiling resembles the night sky with a deep blue with clouds and twinkling stars giving that feeling that you are sitting outside under a clear evening sky. The walls and stage has several opening which resemble Moorish architecture which hide the pipe of the famous house organ known as “Mighty Mo” which you have to hear to believe. In the area that would be called the pit, you could see the huge theater organ consul known as “Mighty Mo” an organ with 4 full keyboards and 5 banks of organ stops encircling the keyboards. In the center of the ‘pit’ was a baby grand piano, that had a candelabra and was actually split in half. The piano was linked to the organ and could be played from the organ consul, truly awesome when both played together. So we heard a short musical concert performed by the theater’s organist.
I know this musical has been around a while, but this was the first chance that I had to see it on stage. I have sung the abbreviated score to ‘Cats’ several time, and have only seen pictures from the Broadway production before tonight, so I was overwhelmed and blown away by the singers on stage, the costumes, the set; the whole production. After tonight, I realize the even though I had sung most of the memorable songs from the musical, we never understood the power and character of the songs and our rendition was quite lacking of the force and character that I saw on stage.
I can never compare which performance was the best as I can’t compare apples to oranges. To get to see a legend like Joan Baez was a once in a lifetime opportunity as is seeing ‘Cats’ on a musical stage which is one of the most popular long time running broadway shows.
I can’t even compare these opportunities to my meeting the great Bob Hope when I was in the Army and our Band was tasked to be his back-up band.
The weekends will be something that I will always remember fondly.