Feb272015

Discover the Birthplace of Rock 'n Roll: Memphis, Tennessee

Published by Sara at 9:04 AM under

Are you searching for the perfect road trip destination but don’t know where to visit? Check out Memphis, Tennessee for a fabulous getaway! Just four hours from St. Louis, Memphis is the perfect place for a road trip.

What makes Memphis so great? Everything! Memphis is known as the Birth place of Rock n’ Roll and home to the king himself, Elvis Presley. Take an unforgettable journey through the life of an American legend at Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley. You can tour the grounds, see Elvis’ Jungle room, pink Cadillac and even his grave site. Graceland is the second most visited house in the world (the White House is the first) and the tour offers a look inside the home of the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

To get a full day of the King, you can also tour Sun Studio. Often referred to as the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, this studio was the starting point for many musicians’ careers. Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis all met in the studio on December 4, 1956 and created one of the greatest jam sessions ever, known as the Million Dollar Quartet. A tour of the studio walks you through the history of music starting in 1950 and describes the beginning of jazz, the blues and rock ‘n’ roll. A shuttle service is provided to take you to and from Graceland and Sun Studio.

Music history is not the only thing that makes Memphis famous. The city is also home to the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is located inside the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. A recent renovation has given an exciting new interactive experience for guests. Some permanent exhibitions include the history of the slavery in America, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and student sit-ins. This is a great place about the history of America and appreciate the progress of the future.

Another great place to visit and fun for the whole family is the Memphis Zoo. Over 3,500 animals call the Memphis Zoo home. Two of those animals are Giant Pandas, Le Le and Ya Ya. The Memphis Zoo is only one of four zoos in America that house Giant Pandas, seeing them is a special experience. The Zoo is fun for everyone in the family and kids have the opportunity learn about different species from all over the world. With exhibits from the desserts of Africa to the snow covered lands of Alaska, a trip through the Memphis Zoo is like a quick trip around the world.

 

After a full day of site seeing and tours, you’ll develop quite an appetite! Memphis has some of the best BBQ in the country. Bar-B-Q restaurants all around the city offer delicious pulled pork, smoked meats, and ribs. While you’re out, try some of the more obscure meals like BBQ Spaghetti!

With so much more stuff to do and see, Memphis is a great place to take off to for the weekend. Before you go, learn more about the birthplace of Rock 'n Roll in Memphis and see Million Dollar Quartet at the Fabulous Fox February 27 – March 1. 


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Feb022015

Five Fabulous Questions with Jack Moelmann, Fabulous Fox organist

Published by Sara at 8:07 AM under Five Fabulous Questions

Meet Jack Moelmann, the man behind the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ at the Fabulous Fox. The organ has been a part of the theatre since its opening in 1929 and Jack has played the Mighty Wurlitzer over 125 times! Jack started learning how to play the piano when he was 8 years old. Two years later, his piano teacher called to tell his father he was wasting his money and wasting her time. However, Jack continued to pursue his dream and was appointed a staff organist at the Fabulous Fox in 2009. 

Jack has been a member of the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS) since 1967, served on the Board of Directors in one capacity or another continuously for 23 years, and was the President of ATOS from 1985 until 1988. Jack has also performed and given concerts in most of the famous movie palaces and auditoriums across the country. We caught up with Jack to ask him five fabulous questions about the Mighty Wurlitzer and the Fabulous Fox! 

What makes the Mighty Wurlitzer at the Fabulous Fox special?

The Mighty Wurlitzer at the St. Louis Fabulous Fox Theatre is the second largest theatre pipe organ built by the Wurlitzer Company. There were only five of this particular size built and the one in the St. Louis Fox and an identical instrument in the Detroit Fox Theatre are the only remaining instruments of their size and specification in their original homes. The instrument in St. Louis is essentially original, it was built and delivered for its debut upon the theatre’s opening in 1929. While there is always the temptation to modernize and/or enlarge a pipe organ, the St. Louis Fox has essentially stayed as installed in 1929.

What is your favorite song to play on the Mighty Wurlitzer and why?

My favorite song is “The Trolley Song” from the show Meet Me in St. Louis to play on the Fabulous Fox organ, either the large one in the auditorium or the smaller one in the Lobby. The song helps identify me as being from St. Louis and it’s a very musical selection, offering a wide variety of opportunities to use some of the many percussions (tonal as well as non-tonal). Other songs would include those from Broadway Musicals such as My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Sound of Music and The Music Man just to mention a few.

Where is your favorite place to play the organ? 

My favorite place to play has to be here at the St. Louis Fox. It is an original pipe organ in a beautifully restored theatre with a structure that brings out the tonal characteristics of a massive theatre pipe organ. I love meeting the wide variety of people who enjoy the organ on the Fabulous Fox tours held weekly.

What is your most memorable organ performance?

My most memorable organ performance has to be at Radio City Music Hall in New York City back in 2008 when I rented the place and put on perhaps the only public organ program using the pipe organ there (the largest organ made by the Wurlitzer Company). I also enjoy playing the large theatre organ in my home.

I will be putting on a public performance at the Fabulous Fox on the Mighty Wurlitzer on Sunday, August 23, 2015, including an audience sing-a-long and short silent movie comedy. This program could be the most memorable organ performance of my hobby career!

What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?

My favorite thing about St. Louis is that the town is the perfect size, not too big and not too small. It has many cultural activities such as the St. Louis Symphony and other similar programs. St. Louis is also known for its wide variety of sports activities none of which am I the slightest bit interested in! I’ve never even been in the Busch Stadium, the old one or the new one although I was invited to play the organ there for a baseball game!


Check out  Jack Moelmann's performance of a medley from My Fair Lady on the Mighty Wurlitzer at the Fabulous Fox! 

Guests can enjoy organ performances at one of the two Wurlitzer organs located in the theatre during Saturday public tours


Jan272015

Creating the magical world of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Published by Sara at 9:03 AM under Get to Know the Show

How do you create a magical world for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella? William Ivey Long, who won the Tony Award for his costumes for the show, says you have to think of it as a period piece: “It’s a fairy tale. In fact, that’s the period: fairy tale.” Long has designed 330 sumptuous period costumes for Cinderella, which is presented in Anna Louizos’ equally sumptuous forest-inspired setting. “The scale of this show is big, because it’s a grand fairy tale,” says Louizos. “This is not story-theater. It’s a Broadway show.”

Both designers say they had long discussions with director Mark Brokaw for this contemporary telling of the traditional story, which features Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic songs with a cheeky new script by playwright Douglas Carter Beane. “Mark wanted to create a whole new world that was unique to this production,” says Louizos. “Nature was very important; the thought that we would see Cinderella in the forest became a prominent component of the design.”

 Louizos says she and Brokaw sifted through a lot of visual material to share their emotional response to this version of Cinderella. “There was this image that Mark kept going back to; one of the first things he showed me – I think it was from a fashion shoot – a photograph of chandeliers hanging in a forest.” In addition, Louizos says they were both struck by another photo: “There were these depictions of a home, but the ceiling was gone and you could see the trees and vines were creeping into the house.”

 So, Louizos quite literally brought Cinderella into the woods. Cinderella, her stepmother and stepsisters live in a cottage, both surrounded by and invaded by the forest. “You can always sense nature around the house,” she says, “even the vines are crawling up and covering up some of the wallpaper.” When the scene shifts to the Prince’s palace: “It’s a more majestic depiction of nature. The trees that form the arches are kind of a silvery brown. I wanted to give it a slight metallic feel, or a shimmery feel to it.” And, of course, there are chandeliers in Louizos’ forest castle, just like the picture which served as inspiration.

 William Ivey Long’s costumes – which reference medieval knights, the Flemish painter Breughel, and the French court of Catherine de Medici – are also inspired by nature. One of the main colors he uses is leaf green. “The whole world of Cinderella takes place in the forest,” he says, showing ink costume sketches in his Tribeca studio. “There are dragons, and, of course, going and collecting mushrooms. And when you start with the forest, that means everything’s growing, and flora and fauna, and so, by extension, butterflies and moths.”

 Of course, butterflies and moths transform from caterpillars, and transformation is a big theme in Cinderella. Long has designed jaw-dropping costume changes in both acts, where Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother go from rags to ball gowns in the blink of an eye, right in front of the audience. How are these changes accomplished? Long won’t say: “I would have to kill you, if I told you,” he laughs, but he shows his initial sketches of how Cinderella’s costume morphs: “The idea is that all the changing is done by a magic wand spinning her around. So, I tried to include the spinning in all these sketches, so you constantly saw movement. And doesn’t that sort of look like you’re whipping up a merengue?”

 Anna Louizos, of course, with the help of smoke and lights, has a pumpkin transform into a carriage. And her forest constantly shifts and reconstitutes itself into new settings. She says the basic idea of putting Cinderella in a world filled with moving trees has captivated audiences. “There’s something so breathtaking about seeing nature onstage,” she explains. “You can go outside the door of the theater and there’s nature, but somehow when you put it onstage, it creates a different visceral response in audience members.”

And, Louizos adds, she thinks this version of Cinderella is a fairy tale that will appeal to everyone: “We approached it as any other brand new musical. It’s not a children’s show; it’s a Broadway show that adults should be able to appreciate and enjoy and be entertained just as much as children would.” 


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Jan072015

The Cinderella Project

Published by Sara at 7:57 AM under Special Offers

Make a dream come true and WIN four tickets to the opening night of Cinderella!

Every young lady deserves to feel like Cinderella at her prom! The Cinderella Project provides prom dresses to young women in the St. Louis region who cannot purchase a formal. The Cinderella Project is sponsored by the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition, and the young women are referred by high school counselors.

You can help by digging into your closet for dresses that will make a young lady’s dream come true! Plus sizes are particularly needed, and don’t forget about accessories!

Donations can be made any time before January 18th at the store managed by the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition:

REFRESH: A Fashion-Forward Resale Boutique 1710 S. Brentwood Blvd. Brentwood, MO 63144 314-881-0331. Monday - Saturday, 10:00 to 6:00 Sunday, noon to 5:00.

Thank you for helping make wishes and dreams come true!


Dec292014

What's Hot on Broadway: On The Town

Published by Sara at 10:11 AM under What's Hot on Broadway

You haven’t seen the real New York until you see On the Town! Broadway’s musical and comedy classic is the biggest, brightest, and brassiest musical to open in years! The show will take your breath away! On the Town has a 30-member cast, with the biggest orchestra all combined with New York’s most talented singers and dancers and if that’s not enough, the lyrics alone can draw in the audience. This Broadway show is about three American sailors on a 24-hour shore leave during the war in 1944. All three of these sailors get the chance to explore the town and maybe even find the love of their life in the city that never sleeps.

Directed by Tony® winner JOHN RANDO (A Christmas Story) and choreographed by Emmy® winner JOSHUA BERGASSE ("Smash"), this big, brassy musical comedy features LEONARD BERNSTEIN’s “rapturous and red-blooded score” (Daily News), lyrics by COMDEN AND GREEN, and breathtaking dancing inspired by the original JEROME ROBBINS choreography. ON THE TOWN is "a helluva show!" (Variety).

 



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