Historic Theater – Modern Experience
SINCE 1928, Willcox and the surrounding communities have looked to the local theater for entertainment.
The current theater building was built in 1936 and opened in January 1937, showing The Gorgeous Hussy, with Joan Crawford. The new art deco theater featured a sloped floor, leather seats, a balcony, modern 1930’s projection equipment, and a stage for vaudeville and other performers, with dressing rooms and backstage facilities.
In 1980 the building underwent a major modification in which the single theater was converted to two screens. The lobby and concession area was moved to the center of the building from the front. The original front ticket office and entrance was closed and a new entrance created on the side for moviegoers to enter the lobby. A larger marquee was also added at this point.
The theater was operated (with some intermittent periods of closure) by the Rex Allen Cowboy Museum until October 2011, when it closed again and the Museum no longer wished to be responsible for its future as a theater. Willcox Historic Theater Preservation, Inc. (WHTP) was formed by a group of local residents to revive the theater. Incorporated in May of 2012 as a non-profit corporation, WHTP purchased the theater building and contents from the Museum and opened its doors again in October of 2012.
Since reopening, much needed interior and exterior work has been undertaken. New seats were installed in both auditoriums, the box office and theater façade were repainted and new art deco display boxes installed. In early June, 2013, Willcox Historic Theater removed it’s vintage 35mm projection equipment and installed digital projection equipment and a new sound system. Just as when it opened in 1937 the Theater has the most advanced technology available for its’ audience enjoyment.