Rialto Theatre

318 East Congress Street,
Tucson, AZ 85701

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Rialto Theatre - Tucson, AZ

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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 20 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 14, 2008 at 7:15 am

Here is the Rialto back in 2004.

monika on February 7, 2009 at 9:18 am

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.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 7, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Exactly. The overhanging marquee is the newer one. Here is a November 2008 photo and this is a July 2008 photo. The flat marquee was installed around 1995-96.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 23, 2009 at 6:57 pm

This is a 2009 shot of the Rialto at night.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 21, 2009 at 9:12 am

The Rialto opened on August 29, 1920 according to this site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 13, 2009 at 2:10 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 on January 11, 2011 at 6:33 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 on September 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

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

spectrum on September 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm

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

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