The town of Normal’s Civic Arts and Normal Theater Manager marks his one-year anniversary this month and he gives his own performance an above-satisfactory score.
Adam Fox won’t assign a letter grade but gives himself a check-plus rating. He is happy with results of adding late-night, weekend movie showings, open mic and professional comedy and alternative uses for the theater including weddings. But, Fox doesn’t want movie-lovers to worry he’ll lose the focus on films. “I know some people have been excited about the live events we’ve been doing. I know some people are concerned when they hear about live events that we are somehow going to take the films away.” He stressed, “We’re not doing that.”
Fox said his biggest challenge has been either meeting or following up with groups which have ideas for live performances for the Normal Theater. He vows to improve communication as he moves into his second year. “Just this past week we had people proposing a traditional ballet and the next person who walked in was proposing a night of belly dance. So you talk about the full end of the spectrum as far as people thinking about the space and what it could be used to showcase.” Fox said, “We’re open to it and we’re hoping we get more and more of those conversations going.”
Success and Failure
As Fox reflects on his accomplishments, he’s most proud of being nimble enough to quickly book the David Bowie film Labyrinth for a late-night and afternoon showing following the actor/singer’s death. He said it was gratifying to provide a communal space for fans to express their grief. “As people came in they were filling out their what David Bowie meant to them on stars we had cut out and as they came back through the lobby after the film was over, we had hung all those stars for a great kind of immersive exhibit,” he said.
But, Fox regrets not being able to secure the Spike Lee movie, Chi-Raq, because of a distribution deal that had a small window from release to major theaters and home viewing.
Summer Shut Down
Fox says the Normal Theater in June will show movies with music or music themes to tie in with Make Music Normal in Uptown June 18. The event will feature musical performances from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. But the theater will be closed for two weeks in July. According to Fox, between July 18-31, crews will be making some quick fixes and improvements. “We’ll be upgrading the lighting in there so we can better serve some of the live events we have but not in any way impacting the aesthetic of the venue.” He said theater goers will still enjoy the theater’s unique elements. “That neon ceiling that you’re used to looking up to seeing will still be up there, completely unmarred by any of the work that’s happening.”