Theater, Atlanta Style – A Fabulous Fox, A Naked Dog and A Frosted Orange

I grew up in a theater loving family. Both of my parents love musical theater, and we lived close enough to New York for them to get into the city once or twice a year for dinner and a show. My mother would wear her coat with the fur collar, and she and my dad would drive up, eat at Sardi’s and take in the latest from Sondheim or Lloyd Webber. Afterwards they’d buy the soundtrack on 8-track from K-tel Records. I spent much of my youth in my parents’ living room, acting out scenes from Evita, Godspell and Chicago with my sisters.

I wanted my daughter to have the same love for the theater, and once she was old enough to sit still through a performance, I started taking her. I don’t live near New York, but I am lucky enough to live in Atlanta, home to one of the most beautiful theaters I’ve ever visited – the Fox Theater, better known as the Fabulous Fox. And it totally delivers on the fabulousness! It was originally designed in the late 1920s as headquarters for the Shriners. It has a lavish Arabian theme that is consistent throughout the entire facility, including the lounges and bathrooms. The theater is famous for its ceiling, which depicts an Arabian sky full of flickering stars and drifting clouds. It’s spectacular.

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Before seeing a show, my daughter and I like to grab a bite to eat. Atlanta doesn’t have a Sardi’s, but we have the next best thing – the Varsity. The Varsity is an Atlanta institution founded in 1928 that serves fresher fast food to the Georgia Tech community. They do an unbelievable volume – as many as 30,000 people visit the restaurant on Georgia Tech game days. They also have the largest drive-in in the country. The drive-in is where my daughter and I prefer to eat because the car hops are almost as entertaining as the show we see at the Fox. Love it!

My daughter and I have gone to the Varsity enough to speak the lingo. That is, we know how to order using Varsity-speak. She has a naked dog (plain hot dog) with strings (French fries) and I get a slaw dog (hot dog with cole slaw – unbelievable) sideways (onions on the side) and a side of strings, or maybe ring one (an order of onion rings). The highlight for me is the FO – the Frosted Varsity Orange. It’s like a creamcicle in a cup.  The perfect blend of orange juice, vanilla ice cream and crushed ice. Yummmmm…

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I decided to pay homage to the Varsity and our nights at the theater by making a Frosted Orange at home. All the ingredients were fresh and blended perfectly. It was delicious, but I’m not going to lie – it wasn’t as good as at the Varsity. Something was missing… I think it was the car hop and those three magical words, “What’ll ya have? What’ll ya have? What’ll ya have?”

PS – I hear that Evita and Godspell are big hits as revivals this year. Lord help the poor person stuck sitting next to me at the Fox when I go see those shows – I will be singing every single word!

Frosted Orange Milk Shake

This recipe is from the Comfort Diner Cookbook. I was so excited to find it because the Comfort Diner opened very near our apartment when we were living in New York City. My husband and I were starving artists, but we would scrape enough together to go there for dinner. Truly, the recipe is delicious – just different than the Varsity’s.


2 scoops vanilla ice cream

1 scoop orange sherbet

1/2 cup orange juice


Combine the ice cream, sherbet, and orange juice in a blender.

Blend for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

The milkshake should be so thick that a straw stands up on its own in the middle of the shake.

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