The Fox Theater Tucson – Film, Music, Special Events
The Fox Theater Tucson began construction in summer of 1929, designed by the architect M. Eugene Durfee to feature movies and the then still popular, vaudeville. It opened in April of 1930 with the film, “Chasing Rainbows”, starring Jack Benny in one of his few and unmemorable movie credits. The gorgeous insides are a blend of southwestern desert and Art Deco with touches of Egyptian, Native American and Mayan inspired designs.
For the first scheduled event, the streets were closed to traffic and waxed for dancing. More than 3,000 people bought tickets for the show and the event became a local “must-see” featuring live bands outside and free trolley rides downtown. (Tucson’s original trolley was still operating then and has since been replaced by a shiny new streetcar version in the past few years.) The Fox Theater Tucson flourished for forty years and then, with the advent of more outlying theaters, drive-in movies, television and the loss of retail space, people found other forms of entertainment and popularity declined. The Fox Theater Tucson closed in 1974 and sat vacant for 26 years. The owners had various plans in mind for the building, including destruction, but never got around to any of them.
In the year 2000 the Fox Theater was purchased by a not for profit organization and $13 million dollars were spent for restoration. Its interior was as faithfully reproduced and restored to be as much like the original as possible. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and reopened for business on New Year’s Eve, 12/31/2007. About 1,100 of 1,200 available tickets were sold in the opening fund-raising event in which tickets cost $250 per seat and $1,000 per couple for the balcony “love seats.” The restoration of this theater, along with many restaurants and new living spaces, has contributed to the overall vitality of a revived downtown.
Oldies-but-goodies movies and film festivals are scheduled throughout much of the year currently but along with these are many live presentations featuring, singers, musicians, combos and many other special events. Check the schedule, seating chart & ticket sales for entertainment the rest of this summer and coming up for fall and winter. See featured videos on YouTube. Fox Theater Tucson, 17 W. Congress Street.