denoting an outstanding or supreme exampleof a particular kind of person or thing.We had already decided to leave our car parked at the restaurant after dinner, and to call Uber for the drive to and from downtown to the Fox Theatre. We had never used this service before, and what a treat. The car arrived within 6 minutes, nice and clean. What a relief not to have to find parking downtown and then walking back and forth to the car – and that is assuming that I would even remember where I parked! Dropped right smack in front of the theater and the door politely opened for me, we step right up the curb to the will call window. We have never been to the Fox Theatre, so this should be a treat!
The Fox Tucson Theatre opened on April 11, 1930 as a dual vaudeville/movie house. The Fox featured a stage, full fly loft, and dressing rooms beneath the stage. The combined effects of “talkies” and the Depression limited the opportunities for live performance, and the dressing rooms were never completed.
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. So began Fox’s 40 year reign as the “crown jewel” of downtown Tucson’s entertainment world. Originally, the Fox served as Tucson’s Movie Palace, presenting films on the big screen as well as community events, vaudeville performances and the Tucson Chapter of the Mickey Mouse Club.
Competition for new theaters and the decline of downtown shopping led to the Fox closing in 1974. After sitting empty for 25 years, the theater was nearly beyond restoration. Extensive water damage, vandalism, and neglect had conspired to keep the building dark. The owners, who had decided to let the building slowly decay, had little interest in selling the property to anyone. Following a two-year negotiation the non-profit Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation was able to buy the building in 1999 for $250,000.
Stabilization and planning for the rehabilitation/restoration began at once with a new roof being installed to stop further damage from the elements. Small restoration projects such as the repair and relighting of the original chandeliers kept the community engaged—through bi-annual open houses and special event fund-raisers.
Following a six-year, $14 million rehabilitation the theatre reopened on New Year’s Eve 12/31/2005. The building is listed as on the National Register of Historic Places due to its unique “Southwestern Art Deco” decor as well as it world-class acoustics. The 1164 seat audience capacity is big enough to attract national and international talent, yet small enough to boast an intimate entertainment experience. Once again the Fox is a premier performance venue, a classic film buff’s dream (showing classic 35mm films on the big screen “the way they were meant to be seen”), and a multi-purpose, elegant rental facility for corporate, non-profit and private events.
Twist & Shout – a Beatles review – unleashed memories of 12-year-old girls who had a dream of taking the train (we’re talking the California Zephyr here – not Amtrak) from Grand Junction to Denver to attend a Beatles concert. Mona Hicks and I were planning – dreaming. Could we really make our way to the middle of a screaming crowd of teenage girls at a Beatles concert.We had enough money for tickets and the train fare. Just couldn’t work out the logistics of where 12-year-old kids would stay the night or get transportation and meals. Not to mention that no parents in their right minds would allow such shenanigans. I don’t really remember just how the hoped for plans ended. I just know they did. We didn’t really discuss it. It kind of just faded away and we were back to the business of school and homework and the everyday life of a kid.
The music tonight was fun and led by a local Tucson guy and that made it even more entertaining. The loge seating (front balcony love-seats) allowed perfect views of the stage, and we were surrounded by a lively, woo-hooing, dancing crowd. The singing quality was good but the instrumentation was spot on to the original Beatles songs.
Twist & Shout is truly the definitive Beatles experience played by brilliantly talented musicians, and led by Tucson-based Tony Kishman (Paul).
Another Uber met us at the curb and delivered us to our car back at the restaurant. Not one complaint beginning with dinner and ending with Uber. The theater is a master-piece and takes you back to a gentler time. We have already reserved tickets to two future concerts and are anxious to return to our date nights. After the past 5 years of lengthy hospital stays and hundreds of medical appointments – I would say a date night here and there is deserved.
A long and overdue date night began with a roaring downpour of a Tucson monsoon. The east side of town was flooded and drenched. By the time we reached mid-town and parked at the Outback Steakhouse, roads were dry and you never would have guessed that two minutes earlier, you could barely see in front of you because of the rain. Mmmmm, I haven’t had the teriyaki steak medallions with peppers and onions for years, and it was just perfect with a strawberry margarita surrounded by a plentiful sugared rim.