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musicals

Kristen

The Fabulous Fox

by Kristen on November 5, 2013

in In Saint Louis

Last night, I had the opportunity to visit one of St. Louis/ most beautiful historical landmarks—the Fabulous Fox Theater!  The Fox is an old theater located near Saint Louis University.  It opened for its first show in 1929.   Now, the Fox hosts plays, musicals, and concerts year-round.  Fontbonne sold tickets to see Beauty and the Beast for last night’s evening showing, and I was privileged to attend.

The play was well done.  Its storyline was similar to the Disney movie version, but with added details and musical numbers.  The cast sounded exactly like the Disney singers! (I was greatly impressed by this)  The show included elements that the children in the crowd enjoyed, but also had humor for adults, so it appealed to all ages.  Which was good, because there was a wide range of ages in the crowd—including some adorable little girls wearing princess dresses.  If only I was young enough to wear princess costumes out in public!

I am always awed by the architecture inside the Fox Theater.  Each room is ornate; carved ceilings, chandeliers, and antique furniture make you feel like you stepped into a past era.  Even the bathrooms are stunning (think sitting rooms with posh chairs and lounges, but with flat screen TVs so you never miss a minute of the show).  Although I have visited a few times now, I am still impressed by how gorgeous the Fox is.  And, of course, the shows are good, too!  I highly recommend visiting the Fox as soon as possible!

Here are some upcoming shows you might want to see:

Rain:  A Tribute to the Beatles    November 15-16

Straight No Chaser                          December 15

Elf the Musical                                   December 17-29

West Side Story                                 January 3-5

Have a good weekend!

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When it comes to Jonathan Larson’s landmark musical “Rent,” there are basically two reactions: some people love it, while others could really go without seeing it. Personally, I love it. “Rent,” to me, is an inspirational story about overcoming diversity and living for the day. But in this blog, I’m not really intending to praise this show; instead, I’d like to refer to its ending – that is, the alternate ending of the movie musical that was directed by Chris Columbus.

I must issue a spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t yet seen this amazing film. According to DVD extras, a documentary about the deleted scenes explained that the film originally ended in a fashion very similar to the Broadway show, during which the final scene transitions from the friends watching Mark’s documentary back to the stage, where the show begins. At the very end of the awe-inspiring song “Finale B,” Angel, who very tragically passed away, takes his place among the rest, just as everything had been in the beginning. However, this ending was eventually cut and replaced with a simpler ending; if you watch the film, you’ll see that it ends with everyone watching Mark’s documentary, leaving out the transition back to the stage. It is said that the director and producer of the film wanted the ending to be clearer cut so that viewers don’t assume false hope that Angel did, somehow, survive. But personally, I prefer that alternate ending because I think it brings about a sense of friendship and everlasting ties.

So why, you may ask, am I writing about a movie that debuted when I was in middle school? Well, as I said previously, I really like its message. But furthermore, I like the idea of alternate endings. We are quickly approaching the new school year, and, from my standpoint, nothing will really be the same for me. Many of the people that I’ve grown so near to have graduated are moving on with their lives, and they won’t be at Fontbonne with me anymore. And others in my life who truly supported and encouraged me will no longer be able to help me and be there for me as they once did. As a freshman, I had envisioned taking a lot of biotechnology classes my senior year; as it turns out, I’ll only really have immunology to take this year. Am I scared about this new school year? Not necessarily, but I am slowly realizing that this year will be totally different from my past three years.

But then I think about alternatives. If you would’ve told me that I’d be a biology major working with E. coli and Staph and centrifuging and pipetting and whatnot when I was a sophomore in high school, I probably would’ve said, “You’re crazy.” But now, being in the position that I’m in, I can’t picture doing anything else with my life. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we shouldn’t be afraid of alternatives. The alternative ending to a certain stage of life may turn out to be better than the one that you’d already planned.

Rent Alternate Ending

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Section B6, Row R, Seat 127. Since 2005, those theatrical coordinates have illustrated my whereabouts for each of seven summer Saturday nights.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, The Muny is our nation’s oldest and largest outdoor theater. Situated in Forest Park, which is what I personally consider to be the heart of St. Louis, The Muny produces seven Broadway-style shows per summer season. It’s a sight to behold, and everyone is invited. You don’t even need a ticket to get in to the free seats near the top of the theater! Generally, The Muny’s season has great variation in the types of shows offered. This season is no different; it contains classics such as “South Pacific” and “West Side Story,” new crowd pleasers such as “Spamalot,” and internationally known and loved shows like “Les Miserables.”

The current season is about halfway through. I’ve already laughed at the nonsense that is “Spamalot,” been inspired by an ogre named “Shrek” whose journey allows him to find both love and his true place in the world, and watched the benefit talent show of a group of religious sisters in “Nunsense.” I’m arguably most excited about the next production, “South Pacific,” which will play (for me) next Saturday night. And after “South Pacific,” the season will continue on and close out with “Les Miz,” “Mary Poppins,” and “West Side Story,” respectively.

So if you live in St. Louis or if you’re just passing through, I highly encourage you to spend a night at The Muny. The live acting, dancing, singing, and orchestral music, in addition to the shimmering night sky and the brand-new fans, will surely bring a smile to your face.

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Last Friday, after an unbelievably stressful week, I had opportunity to see Les Miserables with my friend Lucy at The Fabulous Fox! Naturally, I created a Les Mis playlist on Pandora and played it all week leading up to the show!

Like any respectful theatre go-er, I requested dinner before the show! We parked near the Fox and ate at the restaurant across the street from The Fox. The wait was terrible, but the food delicious! It gave us time to reminisce about our time in Germany over the summer, and theatre people watch! One of America’s Great Past times– People Watching!! It was chilly that night, I’ll admit, but some people had on heavy winter coats, then some girls had on skimpy shimmery dresses! Come on people! But I digress.

Once inside, you could feel the magic of Les Mis!! The image projected onto the curtain was full of blues and grays to hint at the undertones of the musical! The singing was incredible, the actors voices made it sound like they had quadruple the number of voices! Which, in theatre, is remarkable and the desired outcome!

Throughout the musical, which was more like an opera because there was not speaking whatsoever, (JUST SINGING!!) you could feel the anguish, pain, and despair of each character. This musical quite literally sucked me in, and held my attention and emotion the entire four hours!! PHENOMENAL!!

Now I want to go back before it leaves! It was that incredible!! And to think, the movie comes out in less than 2 months! So much Les Mis!!

–Lee

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