Backstage ghosts at The Fabulous Fox Theater

by Mike on September 2, 2012 · 7 comments

One of the coolest things about touring is working in different theaters all over the country. All have their own identity, and The Fabulous Fox in St. Louis is worthy of its name.

But as beautiful and ornate as the front of the house is, the real magic is backstage.

Many theaters preserve a simple tradition: every production that performs there gets to leave their mark on the backstage walls. As a company, we paint a mural and sign it in the majority of the theaters we travel to — but I’ve never seen as impressive an array as what adorns all the walls, corners and crevices backstage at the Fox.

The hallways lead you in…

You can see who’s been in the stairwells…

Behind the stairs…

On the ceiling…

And even the elevator!

Backstage is also a veritable who’s who of musical icons, from The Oakridge Boys to Motley Crue, from Sammy Davis Jr. to Neil Young. With stage shows that sit for a while, the murals are often elaborate paintings. But for the musical acts that come and go, their paintings are simple works that have the signatures of the talent and crew peppered around it.

The Fabulous Fox has hosted hundreds of national tours, from Les Mis to Phantom, to Blues Clues and Doug Henning. It seems everything and everyone has played the Fox! You could spend hours just staring at the walls taking in the beautiful murals of each show, and poring over all of the cast signatures.

I was even able to find a few of my best friends marking the walls, like Christian, who lit up the stage as Riff in West Side Story back in 1996. He just won his first Tony this past year.

I also found my dear friend Sutton, who started out early in her career in the Will Roger Follies here in St. Louis. Two Tony Awards later, she has her own TV show!

Sue McLaughlin in The Lion King’s puppet department made our cool mural. I’m not gonna lie, it was kind of neat to add my own name to the walls. I am now a part of this storied history!

(FYI: “Scumbaa” is the nickname for my job, to cover both Scar and Pumbaa roles.)

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen B. September 2, 2012 at 7:09 am

We just saw the Lion King last week when you were Scar and you were great! This is a wonderful blog and my kids look forward to reading about your travels. Best wishes to you and your family.


Michael Hollick September 3, 2012 at 12:01 am

Thanks so much Jen! We had a great time in St. louis, and look forward to coming back someday!


Sandra September 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

This is one of the coolest stories of your blog! Thanks for sharing this!


Michael Hollick September 3, 2012 at 12:04 am

You’re welcome, Sandra! We had to post a story about this!


ANGELIQUE September 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm



Michael Hollick September 3, 2012 at 12:02 am

I don’t know Angelique. I already have a Tony Freeman as my buddy! Ha Ha! We love Lion King Too!


Cee September 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Hi there–I am actually an ooooold friend (from 7th grade) of Sue McLaughlin’s and I stumbled across your blog while randomly googling her. Can you please tell her Clara Green from Milford says hello? 🙂 (Feel free to pass on my email as well.) The Lion King is an amazing show, BTW, you’re so blessed to be able to tour with it! Break a leg!


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