We enjoy going to the Fox Theater in Downtown Tucson, particularly for live performances. It’s a lot like living in Manhattan where we could enjoy a delicious dinner, then walk only a block or two and take in some of the best theater in the world.
Several times we have enjoyed an early dinner out in one of Tucson’s fine downtown restaurants. Dinner & theater make for a fine evening on the town.
And what a great theater it is. Beautiful art deco interior, superb acoustics, comfortable seating, the Fox offers both live performances by touring singers, dancers, actors, and comedians, and classic films shown the way they were meant to be presented to audiences. We’ve seen several live performances there, including Aaron Nevile, Willie Nelson (both fabulous), and Ed Asner as FDR, a riveting one-man show.
The Grand Opening of the Fox in 1930 was the biggest party little Tucson had ever seen. Congress Street was closed and waxed for dancing to the music of four bands. Some 3,000 lucky people had tickets for the first show, the MovieTone short “Chasing Rainbows” and a Mickey Mouse cartoon.
The Fox remained an active theater until 1974. However, competition from new forms of entertainment, such as TV and drive-in movies, plus the flight of downtown residents and business to the suburbs, ended its success. Amazingly, over the next 26 years, what had become a vacant, derelict old building providing poor shelter for homeless vagrants, was spared from demolition.
As amazing, a small group of locals wanted to save the Fox, and they did. In 1999, a group of volunteers formed a public-private partnership and began the long, hard work of restoring the Fox to its former glory. For this, the rest of us will be forever in their debt.
For more information about the Fox Theater, including upcoming movies and live performances, click HERE.
Watch this video for a historical perspective on the Fox Theatre.