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  • Laci Barry Post

The Most Beautiful Theater in the World Makes a Book Appearance

Sometimes when I am writing, I get to take readers to one of my favorite places. In Song of Return, readers get to visit the most beautiful theater I have ever been in! The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA opened Christmas Day in 1929 to a sold-out crowd for Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie. That would have been a fun holiday showing! Since that day, guests have enjoyed thousands of films and live entertainment at the theater.

Despite the building’s success as a theater, it did not become what it was originally meant to be. When construction began, the structure was to be a home for the Atlanta Shriners organization. The Shriners wanted something that would represent their societal prominence, and they modeled their plans off ancient temples of the Far East, such as the Alhambra in Spain and the Temple of Kharnak in Egypt. These ideas gave us a theater full of grand domes, minarets, archways, gold-leaf details, and trompe l’oeil art, which uses realistic imagery for optical illusions. The theater is stunning!

When the project became too excessive for the Shriners, movie mogul William Fox took over the theater. He gave us another gift inside it, a 3,622-pipe Moller organ, aptly nicknamed “Mighty Mo.” It is the world’s largest Moller theater organ still today.

Despite its grandeur, the Fox Theatre’s history has not always been smooth. During the Great Depression, William Fox lost the theater to bankruptcy. Then, in the 1970s, the Fox Theatre fell into disrepair and closed before being saved from demolition by Atlanta Landmarks’ large effort “Save the Fox” campaign, which raised $3 million. For more information on the Fox Theatre’s history, visit their official website at

Thankfully, guests are still enjoying live performances and films in the theater today. My husband Jason and I got to go back to the Fox Theatre this past July to see the musical Wicked. There is not a better place to see a Broadway musical!

“With the building’s grand entrance and mosque-like architecture, it looked like it belonged in another time and place. Even in the day time, Ava could imagine the building all lit up and welcoming couples and families inside for a night of entertainment.

They found a place to park along the street, and Ava and Victoria walked through the theater’s arcade. Gold was all Ava could see as her eyes swept the walls and fixtures. The color was everywhere, adorning and giving a richness to each detail.”

Song of Return, Chapter 47

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