Best Of Tucson®

Best Indoor Venue

Rialto Theatre

This one's sorta complicated at the moment. In 1995, Jeb Schoonover and Paul Barrington rescued the historic Rialto from dormancy, transforming it from nearly condemned status to one of Tucson's most valued live music venues, while simultaneously giving thousands of folks a new reason to venture downtown. Hell, if you were a music fan, you couldn't resist it; the Rialto brought in acts representing every imaginable genre of music (not to mention comedians, film screenings, subversive circus acts-you get the idea), as well as some you never knew existed. Acts that were too small to play the TCC and too big to play the clubs-for nearly a decade, they all found a home at the Rialto. Earlier this year, the venue changed hands. Jeb and Paul sold the theater to a consortium of interests that includes the city of Tucson's Rio Nuevo project and local developers, who remain committed to serving the same interests that the theater has for almost the last decade. The Rialto nuevo is currently scheduled to reopen in early 2005, with the venue undergoing a multitude of renovations before then (and continuing once it's reopened). Perhaps the biggest is a commitment from the new operators to improve the sound quality in the joint, a longtime sticking point for showgoers in years past. In other words, yeah, it sucks that the Rialto is closed right now. But rest assured that once it reopens, it will be a better Rialto. Some things are worth waiting for.

Runners up:

2. Centennial Hall, University of Arizona, 1020 E. University Blvd., 621-3341

3. Berger Performing Arts Center, Arizona Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd., 770-3690

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