’60s Spectacular

Downtown’s Rialto Theatre goes back in time for its annual gala


It's difficult to look up entertainment in Tucson without having the Rialto Theatre quickly coming to mind. So it should be no surprise then, that when the Rialto musters all its resources for a party, it's a big deal.

This year, the Rialto hosts its sixth annual fundraising gala, "Luck Be a Lady: A Swanky 60s Soiree." With casino tables, beer and liquor tastings, food samples, raffles and more, you'll feel like you're thrown back a few decades. And if the '60s passed before you were born, you'll get a quick, stylized view of those glitzy days gone by. So whether your idol is Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra or Sammy Davis Jr., get some pomade in your hair and put on your most dapper attire for the Rialto fundraiser.

"I'm really surprised at how many people get into the themes," said Julie Ragland, the Rialto's developmental director. "We've doing decade themes for a while, last year was the '50s, and so on. I'm excited for this year to be the '60s."

With attendance growing by roughly 100 every year, this year's gala is expected to be the biggest so far. In fact, the staff took into account the influx and opened up the balcony and is offering special VIP options.

Proceeds from the event go to the Rialto Theatre Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship and preservation of the historic Rialto Theatre, 191 Toole and R Bar. And with the Rialto coming up on its 100th anniversary in 2020, there are big plans in the works, both for celebrations and renovations.

The night will also feature the beginning of a capital campaign dedicated specifically to upgrading the buildings and grounds of the Rialto Theatre.

"We're hoping this campaign will help launch us into the next hundred years of the Rialto," Ragland said.

Special guests include members of KXCI Radio and even former House of Representatives member Gabby Giffords. In addition to these, there will also be live music from the appropriately named "The Rat Pack" and a Las Vegas Showgirls performance by the Tucson Libertine League.  

There will also be live and silent auctions, with prizes like travel packages, original art, jewelry, gift certificates and more.

Even if none of that sounds particularly appealing, there will be food from the 2017 "Tucson Knife Fight" Champion Chef Gary Hickey of Charro Steak, Michael Elefante of Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant, Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink, HUB restaurant & Ice Creamery, Oban Sushi and Ramen and Izaak Morhaim of Jackson Bar + Eatery, to name a few.

With sparking streamers, true rock 'n' roll bands and decorated party people, last year's gala was a "huge success" and this year is expected to be even better. And as Julie Ragland would like to remind everyone, "themed attire is highly encouraged!"

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