Fox Performing Arts Center refashioned for shows

The historic Fox Performing Arts Center offers cinemas, shows and live concerts in a state-of-the-art center in downtown Riverside.

With its historic background, detailed archi-tecture and famous shows, the Fox can offer a promising night full of excitement and entertainment.

“We get a lot of the acts that are either heading to Los Angeles, or (coming) from LA on tour,” said Michael Mcully, employee of the Fox Performing Arts Center.

Built in 1929, the building is located in the heart of downtown Riverside, offering entertainment to all surrounding cities. The theater is a centerpiece to Riverside and has become a completely new attraction after its renovation in 2009 and reopening in January 2010 with an improved look.

“I am impressed with our technology,” Mcully said. “Many people don’t realize the millions of dollars put into the small quirks of technology, which make it completely different than any other theater.”

Throughout the ‘30s and ‘40s the Fox Performing Arts Center was used by a Hollywood film company to show previews of new releases before final editing.

The theater is best known for being the first theater in the country to show the screening of the 1939 classic film, “Gone with the Wind.”

During World War II the building served as a dormitory after the soldiers of nearby military bases ex-hausted available sleeping quarters. Soldiers slept on thick carpets throughout the lobby and auditorium.

In 1942, the theater converted its stage and surrounding dressing rooms into a small theater called “the Lido,” which served as a small film house for headline pictures.

After World War II, the demographics and surrounding neighborhoods led the performing arts center down a different path. In 1978, after being acquired by new owners, the Fox began showing Spanish and adult films.

In 2006, the County of Riverside attained the property to provide a performing arts facility for the city.

Needing more than a “few fixes,” the county officials began one of the largest Riverside projects in the last 30 years to form the Fox Performing Arts Center.

The renovation of the Fox was part of a $35 million dollar project that was completed in 2009.

The new design called for additions on all three levels including an expanded stage, new stage floor, new seats, lighting, a restored decorative ceiling and a refurbished lobby.

The Fox theater now is the-art performing arts center that captures the original display of the 1929 building built years ago.

“I have been there a couple of times, and the architecture and sound quality amazes me,” said David Togia. “It’s definitely a ‘must see’ for those visiting or living in Riverside.”

The center, located at the intersection of Mission Inn Avenue and Market Street, is recognized today as an important part in the history of motion pictures.

“We provide entertainment to all audiences,” Mcully said. “In fact, this weekend we sold out completely for the Broadway show, ‘Dreamgirls.’”

Many upcoming attractions are slated for the Fox, including “Nunset Boulevard,” Jan. 26; platinum recording artist, Lyfe Jennings, Feb. 15; and “H.M.S Pinafore,” Feb. 23.

For more information on upcoming shows visit

About Whitney Waters

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