Fox Tucson Theatre
The Fox Tucson Theatre opened on April 11, 1930 as a dual vaudeville/movie house. Competition for new theaters and the decline of downtown shopping led to its closure in 1974. The theater remained empty for many years and fell into disrepair. Finally, after a major renovation, it reopened in late 2005. Since then, it has been a driving force for entertainment in modern downtown Tucson.
Backstory and Context
The Fox Tucson Theatre opened on April 11, 1930 as a dual vaudeville/movie house. Opening night, April 11, 1930, proved to be the biggest party the small community of Tucson had ever seen. With Congress Street closed and waxed for dancing, four live bands, a live radio broadcast and free trolley rides downtown, the party was one not to be missed.
Originally, the Fox served as Tucson’s Movie Palace, presenting films on the big screen in addition to community events, vaudeville performances and the Tucson Chapter of the Mickey Mouse Club. As time passed, other theaters began to open in the area, vying for a share of the entertainment market that the Fox held at the time. Eventually, the Fox could no longer compete with the newer businesses springing up around Tucson, and as a result, the Fox closed in 1974, and would remain empty for 25 years. The owners of the building did little to maintain the building, and as a result, it fell into disrepair.
A group called the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation formed and began negotiating with the owners in 1997, and in 1999, they were able to buy the Fox for $250,000. Restoration efforts began almost immediately, and following a six year, $14 million rehabilitation, the Fox reopened on New Year’s Eve of 2005. From then until the current day, the Fox has continued to serve downtown Tucson with top-notch entertainment of all kinds. (1)
The Fox Tucson Theatre is one of several historic theater and concert venues built along Congress Street, the others being Club Congress and the Rialto Theatre (Tucson) several blocks to the east.