The Fox Theatre originally opened on April 11, 1930 as a movie house called "The Tower." Built by Nicholas Diamos as one of his chain of theaters in Southern Arizona, it was then taken over by Fox. It had a full stage, dressing rooms, and a fly-loft. However, due to the depression, the dressing rooms were never finished and there was a limited budget for live performances. The budget reached over $300,000 to finish the original building because of details such as the furnishings. It opened as a movie theater and a place for the Tucson community to gather for live events. It has since then been known as the "crown jewel" of downtown Tucson's entertainment. On opening night, there was one of the biggest celebrations that downtown Tucson had ever seen. Over 3,000 people bought tickets to see a show on opening night as local bands and free trolley rides filled the streets. The Mickey Mouse Club was one of the first shows ever to be performed in the Fox Theatre. There was much competition between the Fox Theatre and other theaters in Tucson, but times eventually got tough. Although the Fox Theatre was a hit when it first opened, as more theaters began to open as competition, it caused the Fox Theatre to close down in 1974. After sitting unused for 25 years, the idea of restoration did not phase the owners. In 1999, the nonprofit, Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation purchased the property for $250,000. After a lengthy restoration process, it opened back up on New Years Eve in 2006. Today, the Fox Theatre serves as a multipurpose performance venue that seats over 1000 people.
For over 25 years, the Fox Theatre remained vacant and home to over 40 homeless people. There were extreme amounts of damage from water, vandalism, and neglect that needed to be fixed. Once the roof was fixed, rehabilitation on the inside could begin. Fortunately, the Fox Tucson Theater Foundation stepped in and in 1999 and bought the building for $250,000. From there, the restoration process could begin. Starting with building a new roof, the Fox theater was slowly starting to come together again. in 2006 and $14 million later, the theater reopened on New Years Eve of 2006.
With sold out performances and a rich history, the Fox Theatre has been able to create a substantial revenue that has benefited downtown Tucson and all of its residents. The Theatre brings over $3.4 million into downtown annually, including local restaurants and bars. On top of this, the Fox Theatre has raised money through fundraising during annual events as well. In 2013, the Fox Theater hosted over 150 events and held over 70,000 people throughout this time.
During the restoration process, there were over 200 volunteers. Having volunteers help to restore the theater was a way to bring the community together. The theatre now hosts over 100 events annually and seats more than 100,000 people a year.
What to Know Before Your Next Visit
Three ways to buy tickets
2. Over the phone
3. Box office (Open Tues-Fri 11am- 6pm)
Where to eat dinner before the show: There are plenty of restaurants and bars in downtown Tucson that are just walking distance from the Fox Theatre. The nightlife is available for before and after the show.
Opportunities to see the inside of the Fox Theatre outside of showtimes: There are guided tours once a month offered by Tom Skinner, the resident historian. On this tour, people can learn and see things that are not available outside of these select guided tours. Private tours can be scheduled by contacting the House Manager.
Kinds of shows offered: Live music (country, jazz, rock), dance performances, as well as world renowned musicians. Over the past few years artists such as Willie Nelson and Weird Al have performed. Every month, different classic films are played to follow the tradition of the Fox Theatre as well.
Food and drinks offered: Inside the Fox Theatre, there are concession stands filled with candy, popcorn, and Pepsi products. There is also a full service bar that offers many different options for visitors.