Rialto Theatre

318 East Congress Street,
Tucson, AZ 85701

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Rialto Theatre - Tucson, AZ

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The Rialto Theatre was opened August 29, 1920. It was renamed Paramount Theatre on August 22, 1948. Closed due to a major gas explosion in 1984. Under renovation since 1985, and currently an active performing arts center. Friends of the Rialto Theatre are working to bring this theatre back to it’s former glory.

An extensive history of the theatre is available at the official website.

Contributed by Gregg

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 10, 2007 at 6:13 pm

There are 12 photos on this page from the CA State Library:
http://tinyurl.com/2s9966

monika
monika on June 3, 2007 at 9:07 pm

Here’s a photo I took of the Rialto in 2001: View link

monika
monika on February 7, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I think that Lost Memory’s photo link is more recent than the previous ones. I was there in 2001 and the theatre had the plain, flat marquee. The photos in LM’s links from 2/6/09 and 11/14/07 are more recent than that, the theatre has had some restoration work done in the last couple years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 13, 2009 at 5:10 am

That information from the National Register of Historic Places interesting. I was not aware that Alexander Curlett had ever designed a theater. It must have been a solo work, too, as his father William Curlett, his former partner, had died in 1914.

The Rialto must have been his last, or nearly the last, project he designed before he formed his partnership with Claud Beelman, as everything else I’ve seen of his from 1920 to 1928 is attributed to Curlett & Beelman. The impression I’ve gotten from various sources has been that Aleck Curlett was the less talented member of that firm, but the Rialto is a pretty impressive building. Maybe he had more to do with the designs of the great Curlett & Beelman projects of the 1920s than I’ve been led to believe.

Now I’m wondering if some of the still-unattributed theaters around the southwest from the late 1910s might have been of his design.

Patsy
Patsy on January 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Curtis McCrary of the Rialto Theatre held a a special vigil in honor of Gabrielle Giffords, John Roll and the other victims of the recent shooting in Tucson AZ tonight at 7:30. The marquee gave a message of hope to their Gabby.

spectrum
spectrum on September 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm

From their website gallery, much of the original decoration in the lobby and auditorium is gone, replaced by modern d├ęcor.

spectrum
spectrum on September 10, 2013 at 10:21 pm

…also the seating has been removed, and the smooth sloping floor has removable folding chairs.

rivest266
rivest266 on October 19, 2016 at 7:15 pm

Opened as Rialto on August 29th, 1920. Grand opening ad in the photo section

rivest266
rivest266 on October 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm

August 22nd, 1948 grand opening ad as Paramount also in the photo section.

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