Company - HAMILTON National Tour - (c) Joan Marcus 2018
BY ELLIE HENSLEY
Broadway returns to Midtown ATL, and the venerable Fox Theatre is not throwing away its shot. Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now. Midtown’s most iconic venue has been quiet since mid-March of 2020, due to COVID-19. But the stage is coming back to life in a big way this month with the Broadway smash hit Hamilton.
The cast of Hamilton will perform a total of 39 shows at the venue from August 22 - September 26. The show will be just the second Broadway engagement to open in North America since the onset of the pandemic. The production chose The Fox and Atlanta to make its return after originally playing a run of shows here in 2018.
“They think very highly of the community and its history and tradition in Civil Rights,” said The Fox Theatre CEO Allan Vella. “They love The Fox and the ambience it creates. The large capacity doesn’t hurt either. They felt it was a great way to start anew, and we’re super excited.”
The Fox Theatre reopened for live shows in a limited capacity beginning in July, with a concert by King Crimson and screenings of “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Princess Bride.” It is planning to be back at 100% capacity beginning on August 22 for the opening night of Hamilton.
“It’s challenging,” Vella said. “We can’t wait to have guests fill the theater and breathe life back into this beautiful place, but it’s a little like opening a new building. We have to hire a large amount of new staff members. Some are returning, but others have moved on to other businesses or industries, and we have to essentially learn how to operate again in a COVID environment that is also causing us to make a series of changes.
The Fox Theatre is the only performing arts venue in the state of Georgia to achieve the Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s STAR accreditation for implementing the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention. It has installed an Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation system and increased its air filtration, and it is conducting temperature screenings and touchless admission at entry. Details about its safety protocols can be found here.
Shoba Narayan, Ta'Rea Campbell and Nyla Sostre - HAMILTON National Tour - (c) Joan Marcus 2018
Tell the Story of Tonight: Midtown Alliance Partners with The Fox to Light Up Peachtree Street
To welcome theatergoers back to the district, Midtown Alliance will be turning on its Midtown Bright holiday lighting installations aroud The Fox a few months early this year. The Fox's marquee and digital signage will also have a "Light it Up" theme. The Fox is encouraging neighboring bars and restaurants to create a special cocktail. For example, The Marquee Club presented by Lexus will have a Peachtree Lights cocktail.
Joseph Morales and Company - HAMILTON National Tour - (c) Joan Marcus 2018
Raise a Glass to Freedom: Broadway Show Expected to Help Revive Businesses Across Midtown
Up to 180,000 people could come to Midtown for Hamilton during its six-week run in Atlanta, which will bring more patrons to the streets than two and a half sold-out Atlanta Falcons games at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Up until the pandemic, when large venues across the world were forced to close, The Fox Theatre had been the highest-grossing venue of its size for a decade, selling more than 5.28 million tickets over the past 10 years.
The return of live shows will bring much needed relief to The Fox Theatre, after so many dark months. But the economic impact will extend far beyond the walls of the venue. It is estimated that each theatergoer spends an average of $12 at restaurants, bars and surrounding businesses during their evening out.
That tallies up to an estimated $2,160,000 in economic impact for Midtown.
The Fox’s nextdoor neighbor Publik Draft House is excited to welcome theater patrons back. Although they’ve seen local support throughout the pandemic from residents of the neighborhood, they’ve been missing the business shows from the Fox used to bring through the door.
“Obviously the whole world shut down,” said PDH owner Eddie Johnson. “When The Fox shut down we saw a drastic reduction in business. It’s good to see the renewed interest and excitement in Midtown from Hamilton.”
Johnson also sees members of the cast and crew at PDH from time to time.
“They like to go out and have a drink or a meal between practice sessions, and we’re always excited to see them,” he said. “A lot of our staff are theatre people and actors, so they’re kind of kindred spirits. We help them navigate Atlanta, tell them about places like Piedmont Park and the BeltLine and make their experience more exciting.”
Be “in the room where it happens” and purchase tickets for Hamilton here.
Make an evening of it by visiting Midtown bars and restaurants before or after the show. Find our list here.