Rialto Theater

310 S. 9th Street,
Tacoma, WA 98402

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Related Websites

Broadway Center for the Peforming Arts (Official)

Additional Info

Architects: Roland Borhek

Functions: Live Performances

Styles: Beaux-Arts

Nearby Theaters

Rialto Theater

The Rialto Theater opened September 7, 1918 with Lily & Dorothy Gish in “Hearts of the World”. The original architect was Roland Borhek. When the Rialto Theater opened it had a Wurlizer 3/15 Style 35 Special installed. The organ was sold and removed in 1945.

Around 1990 a nonprofit organization with funding from the City of Tacoma and its City Council, bought the theater and remodeled it. The organization is called the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts. The Rialto Theater is now used for live performances.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber & Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

markinthedark on May 5, 2005 at 12:33 pm

Does anyone have Photos of the Rialto interior before, during or after the restoration?

kateymac01 on May 5, 2005 at 12:55 pm

If you go to http://search.tpl.lib.wa.us/images/ and type Rialto into the search line, you can find lots of historic photos of the theater, including some beautiful interior shots. There are none there from the renovation, though. Just from the 1920’s to 1950’s.

teecee on July 19, 2005 at 2:31 am

Recent night time photo:
View link

markinthedark on August 4, 2007 at 12:55 pm

I wish there were some good shots of the interior out there.

HowardBHaas on August 31, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Beautiful photo by Rob Bender of exterior, 8-29-07 here:
View link

markinthedark on May 30, 2009 at 10:38 am

When it was last a cinema prior to the restoration it had a slightly curved scope screen in front of the proscenium. It extended i believe to just about where the purple lights are on either side of the stage in the recent interior photo 2 posts up. The Rialto once played “Empire Strikes Back” in 70mm either as 2nd run or a rerelease around 1981 or so. Not sure of any other past 70mm engagements, although the larger Temple Theatre up the hill had many.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 7, 2010 at 2:49 am

According to a brief biography of Tacoma architect Roland Borhek, the Rialto was the second theater he designed in the city. In 1914, he had designed the Colonial Theatre, though that house went through a couple of significant remodeling projects before finally being demolished.

I noticed that the PSTOS page Chuck linked above to misspells Borhek’s first name (it should be Roland, with only one “l”) which is probably where the misspelling currently in the theater description on this page came from.

rivest266 on July 10, 2021 at 10:31 am

Grand opening ad posted.

DavidZornig on May 9, 2023 at 8:59 pm

Tacoma Music History Facebook post with a music store window display tie-in to the Rialto Theatre in 1947. Bing Crosby’s home town.


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