Fox Performing Arts Center
3801 Mission Inn Avenue,
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The Riverside Theatre opened on June 11, 1929 with “White Shadows in the South Seas” starring Monte Blue & Raquel Torres. Film star Monte Blue appeared in person, and the Wurlitzer 2 manual 10 ranks organ was opened by Warren Wright. With a seating capacity of 1,550 in orchestra and balcony levels, it was built for vaudeville and movies by Fox West Coast Theatres.
In 1939, the Fox Riverside Theatre held the first public sneak preview screening of “Gone With the Wind”, and Vivian Leigh made a personal appearance. Over the following years, the theatre was often used by the film studios as a sneak preview theatre for forthcoming major films and a sign on the front of the theatre would be illuminated to notify when one was to take place.
In 1942, the stage house was sealed off from the main theatre, and was converted into a second movie theatre to the plans of Clifford Balch. It had its own entrance at the rear of the building, and was named the Lido Theatre.
During its last gasps of life, the Fox Theater was exhibiting Spanish language films and the Lido Theatre had become an adult movie theatre as part of the Pussycat Theatres chain. Both finally succumbed to economic pressure and were closed in around 1992. The building stood empty and unused, the victim of thieves and vandals for many years.
In 2001, the abandoned theatre was purchased by a local individual, with plans proposed for a renovation, but years past by, and nothing happened. It was purchased by the city in 2006, and in 2009, the city spent 32 million Dollars to restore the theater back to a single space, with a working stage. It now has 1,646 seats. with 971 in the orchestra, 234 in the mezzanine and 441 in the balcony. The program includes touring Broadway shows.
It reopened on January 15, 2010 as the Fox Performing Arts Center, and presents live performances, live theater and Classic movies. The Nederlander Organisation have a five year lease on the theatre and they will book three to five shows a year, but not concerts or other events.
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