The Fox Performing Arts Center: A Riverside Gem
In the vibrant city of Riverside, California, lies the Fox Performing Arts Center. Also known as the Riverside Fox Theater, this historical landmark is a point of interest that holds great significance. The community beloved this Spanish Colonial Revival-style building built in 1929. It occupies a central location in downtown Riverside. It stands proudly as part of Riverside’s Arts & Culture initiative. It has recently been renovated to become a regional performing arts facility. It’s magnificent reopening in January 2010 signified a new era for this illustrious theater.
With its extensive history, the Fox Performing Arts Center has captivated audiences for many years. Notably, it was the first theater to screen the timeless classic “Gone With the Wind,” which remains one of cinema’s greatest achievements when adjusted for inflation. This accolade proves its enduring legacy and pivotal role within the film industry.
Designed by renowned architects Clifford Balch and Floyd E. Stanberry, The Riverside Fox Theater was once part of the esteemed Fox West Coast Theaters chain that dotted Southern California with neighborhood theaters during the roaring twenties. 1928 it became affiliated with Fox Studios, revolutionizing film production through its seamless distribution system. However, this partnership was short-lived due to antitrust regulations and financial difficulties. Instead, control over the theater fell into the hands of the Skouras Brothers in 1932 under National Theaters chain ownership – recognized as America’s largest and most successful theater chain.
During Hollywood’s golden age from the 1930s to 1940s, the Fox Theater played a crucial role within Tinseltown. Hollywood-based film companies utilized this venue extensively to gauge audience reactions across diverse demographics without extensive travel. It was an ideal platform for showcasing previews of their upcoming releases. Riverside represented small-town America, making it an invaluable microcosm for the studios.
During World War II, the Fox Theater played a vital role in supporting troops. It served as a makeshift dormitory for soldiers from nearby military bases when sleeping spaces were scarce in the city. Manager Roy Hunt generously offered shelter on the luxurious carpets of the lobby and auditorium. The theater also changed during this time, converting the stage and dressing rooms into a secondary theater called “Lido,” which featured second-run films.
However, shifting demographics and a decline in the surrounding area led to a downturn for the Fox Theater in the post-war years. In 1978, it was acquired by Walnut Properties, who repurposed the main auditorium to showcase Spanish-language films. Meanwhile, the former Lido Theater became known as “Pussycat Theater,” screening adult films.
Recognizing its historical significance, the Fox Theater was deemed eligible for entry into the National Register of Historic Places. In 2006, the City of Riverside obtained ownership with plans to transform it into a thriving performing arts facility for community use. This renovation was part of the ambitious “Riverside Renaissance” program – an initiative worth $1.68 billion to revitalize the city’s cultural and economic landscape. Renovation began on May 3rd, 2007, and concluded late in 2009, breathing new life into this iconic venue.
Today, Fox Performing Arts Center is a testament to Riverside’s commitment to preserving its cultural heritage while providing a vibrant arts scene for residents and visitors alike. The theater hosts diverse performances, including plays, musicals, concerts, dance shows, etc. It’s state-of-the-art facilities and historic charm create an unforgettable experience for all who attend.
Tips for Travelers:
To fully experience the Fox Performing Arts Center, here are some pointers:
Check the Schedule: Before your visit, consult the theater’s website or contact the box office for information on upcoming shows and events. This will ensure you get all performances that intrigue you.
Arrive Early: Allow yourself ample time to explore the theater and appreciate its architectural magnificence. The lobby boasts exquisite details, creating an atmosphere worth immersing oneself in.
Dress Comfortably: Depending on the event, dress codes may vary. It is always wise to be comfortable, particularly if attending a lengthy show or musical performance.
Discover Surrounding Environs: Situated in downtown Riverside, the Fox Performing Arts Center offers access to various dining options and attractions. Consider exploring this area before or after your visit to maximize your trip’s potential.
Support Local Talent: The theater frequently showcases local artists and community productions. Demonstrate solidarity by attending these shows and reveling in Riverside’s wealth of talent.
The Fox Performing Arts Center is a cherished landmark in Riverside, California—a seamless fusion of history, culture, and entertainment. Whether resident or visitor, this iconic venue serves as a gateway to extraordinary performances while allowing an appreciation for the city’s artistic essence. Step inside and embark upon a journey into enchantment and wonder at the Fox Performing Arts Center.
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