Since 1988, the Fox Theatre (2211 Woodward Ave., 313/983-6611, www.olympiaentertainment.com ) has undergone a painstaking and often slow $8 million restoration that eventually returned the gaudy yet glamorous structure to its original glory. The 5,000-seat Fox is truly a marvel of 1920s architecture.
Built in 1928 by William Fox, it was designed in the style of an Arabian tent. The exotic Thai-Byzantine style borrows motifs from a range of cultures, including Persian, Burmese, Indian, Thai, and Chinese.
There are gold-leafed, hand-stenciled walls, marble-finish pillars, gold-tusked elephants, winged lions, a sunburst ceiling, and dreamlike decorative figures throughout. The lobby is six stories high, with 300,000 sparkling glass jewels, loads of brass, and a 13-foot, two-ton stained-glass chandelier.
The restoration was remarkably successful. Today, the Fox is one of the nation’s most successful theater operations, with almost nightly presentations, including touring Broadway musicals, big-name concerts, restored film epics, and other special events.
You can’t miss the 125-foot multicolored neon marquee, which stretches to the 10th floor of the Fox office building. And here’s a bit of trivia: During the 1920s, the Fox was the first theater in the United States to sell candy on-site.