Fox Theatre

What makes the fabulous Fox Theatre so fabulous? Great question! And that’s just what we ask the folks who work at the Fox. They answer by giving us an exclusive backstage tour, as well as an on-stage tour, and even an under-the-stage tour. And we tell the “theatrical” story as you’d expect—in 3 acts. By the way, it turns out that part of what makes the Fox so fabulous is their air-conditioning system and their LED lights, both of which we cover in our Teachable Moments.

How Air Conditioners Work

How Air Conditioners Work

This technology-based segment explains in simple terms the way refrigerant and evaporation combine to create air conditioning.

Lighting

Lighting

We again focus on technology, this time comparing incandescent lighting to LED lighting, learning how each works, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Atlanta Metro

Special Thanks To

Molly Fortune, Maggie Fuller, Dee Middleton, Amy Smith, Len Tucker

FOX THEATRE

VO

Today Fast Forward is visiting the fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta, and we are thrilled about seeing our name on the famous marquee out front...

Yep...any second now...

A POORLY PHOTO-SHOPPED IMAGE CLUMSILY PLACES "FAST FORWARD" ON THE MARQUEE.

VO (CONT'D)

Nice!

But is uh...anyone buying this?

Let's just get to the episode.

TITLE SEQUENCE.

VO

Fast Forward is taking the stage. Literally. We're standing on hallowed ground--the stage of Atlanta's fabulous Fox Theatre. And because the Fox is one of the premiere theaters in the country, let's learn a little more about it in something I like to call-

BLACK & WHITE TYPE TITLE CARD, LIKE OLD-TIME SILENT MOVIES

SFX: ORGAN

VO

("SOPHISTICATED") The Fox Theatre in 3 Acts.

But first, let's meet our cast.

MOLLY

Welcome to the Fox Theatre, I'm Molly Fortune and I am the Director of Restoration for this fabulous landmark.

LEN

I'm the director of operations at the Fox Theatre.

AMY

I'm the production manager. What we do here in production is we advance shows, basically talking to the show and coordinating what they need from us and what we need to know from them.

D

I am a maintenance technician here at the Fox Theatre. I'm just here to make sure our patrons enjoy their experience here at the Fox Theatre.

VO

Great start. Now let's get to...Act 1.

SFX: ORGAN

VO

("SOPHISTICATED")-wherein we learn what makes the Fox Theatre so fabulous.

CARD: "ACT I: WHAT MAKES THE FOX THEATRE SO FABULOUS"

MOLLY

What makes us fabulous?

D

Me of course! But seriously folks...

MOLLY

I think it's a lot of different things. I think it's the guests that come in, and their excitement and their passion for the building.

AMY

The variety of shows that come in here. We have everything. We have comedians, we have rock shows, we have Broadway shows, we have ballet. We basically have it all.

D

And just the history behind this place is just amazing.

VO

I can tell! So let's hear a little more about that history!

LEN

The Fox Theatre opened Christmas Day of 1929. We had a line that was wrapped around from the marquee all the way down the side of the building.

When we first started it was a, full service house. It had Broadway shows. Then it slowly moved and evolved into a movie house for many years until the late 60's.

MOLLY

But then as in most downtown areas, everybody wanted to be in the suburbs. So the theatre went through a serious decline. And that's when, in the 70s, that the Save the Fox campaign began.

LEN

From that point on now we've been a viable, very busy theatre that's full service, doing everything from Broadway shows to concerts to corporate events. So we're, we're wide open.

VO

And let's keep this show moving right along, with Act 2-

SFX: ORGAN

VO

("SOPHISTICATED") ...wherein old meets new.

CARD: "ACT II: OLD MEETS NEW"

VO

Because of the Fox Theatre's rich history, they can't just modernize the way other buildings can.

LEN

When we get ready to, make a modification or have to do something to the building, our first concern is how do we maintain the original piece or the original portion of the building?

VO

And their air conditioning system is a great example. So let's start with a basic understanding of how air conditioning works.

Yep, time for another one of those teachable moments. But this one's cool! Get it? Air conditioning? Cool?

SFX: BOO'S

Yeah, I thought so. (BEAT) Anyhow, air conditioners use metal coils that are cooled off by pumping something called a refrigerant. Unlike water, it evaporates at a really low temperature. So as it goes through the coils, it's evaporating and cooling them. Air is blown over the coils, cooling the air, and in turn a building. Outside the building, a compressor helps turn the refrigerant back into a liquid, blowing heat off of it, and then the whole process begins again.

And this is the AC unit at the Fox.

I know, pretty impressive! Right? I'll let our cast take it from here.

MOLLY

The HVAC system. State of the art at the time in 1929.

LEN

The way I understand it, we had the first one in, the Atlanta area. And then the White House unit was installed at a later date. And then in 1946 the Carrier Corporation came and installed a new centrifugal type chiller, which is basically still in use today.

D

And about 3 years ago we have installed a new chiller. So we actually have 2 chillers now with the capabilities of running both if we needed to.

LEN

We added a lot of new accessories. So we have a, mixture of old and new technology sitting side-by-side and most everything that we add to the system now we tie into the, to the computer system.

VO

And while old is meeting new, there's something else I want you to see. Remember that marquee that...ahem...had our name on it?

RE-INSERT COLD OPEN SHOT.

LEN

We have a mixture of the old and the new technology on our marquee.

VO

That's because when the Fox Theatre was built, it used incandescent lighting, which uses resistance to create enough heat on a filament to make it glow, creating light.

But now the marquee uses a combination of incandescent lights and LED lighting. LED stands for light emitting diodes, and LED lights don't use resistance. Instead they use the flow of electrons between semiconductors, like silicon or germanium. A semiconductor is a material current can easily flow through in one direction. The byproduct of this flow is photons, which are essentially the light we see.

LED lights are more expensive than incandescent lights, but they're also more efficient. So they burn cooler and save money.

Okay, that's a good first couple of acts. But let's get to act three.

CARD: "ACT 3: THEATER JOBS AND HOW TO GET THEM"

SFX: ORGAN

VO

("SOPHISTICATED") ...wherein we learn what types of jobs places like the Fox have, and how you can get them. Molly?

MOLLY

There's 72 employees, and we have accounting. We have group sales. We have operations. We have restoration. We have production, security, events, private events, and ticketing.

AMY

Internships are really the key. Working for a variety of theatre companies. Also a background in technical theatre so that you know a little bit about everything: a little bit about lighting, a little bit about scenery, um...rigging, sound, props, costumes, makeup, all of those details.

VO

And where do I start?

AMY

Very small theatres to Disney and um shows in Vegas. You have Broadway. You have off-Broadway. You have what's called summer stock, which are the summer theatres. There's a lot of places to get experience.

VO

Wow, that episode of Fast Forward was packed! We didn't even have time for an intermission. I'll let our cast help bring down the final curtain, as only true thespians can. And we'll see you on our next episode of Fast Forward!

ALL

And scene.

D

Is that it?

END SEQUENCE

2

This content was developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, this content does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.