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Rialto's foundation hosts Clue game fundraiser at theater

About 30 volunteers (including Secretary of the Board of Directors Mariah Michas at left and Gala Chair Kelly Barnhill at right) will assist with the Rialto Theatre Foundation’s 9th Annual Fundraising Gala: Clue—It’s Not Just a Game Anymore at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Tickets are available at https://www.rialtotheatre.com/rialto-theatres-fundraising-gala/.

It’s Clue for a cause.

Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard and other iconic characters have moved from the library and the study to the lobby and the stage with the Rialto Theatre Foundation’s niinth annual Fundraising Gala: Clue — It’s Not Just a Game Anymore.

The event, which marks the Rialto’s return to in-person fundraising and seeks to raise at least $50,000, will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.

“Our goal is to make this the most fun fundraiser; we hope to change the conception that galas are boring. I would say this is definitely a party more than just a fundraising dinner. We highly encourage themed attire. We hope people will dress up as characters, or weapons, or choose a color — whatever they want!” said Kristin Evans, director of marketing for the Rialto Theatre.

Proceeds from the event will benefit operations, programming and ongoing improvements at the theatre, which was built in 1920 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The venue’s colorful history includes vaudeville-era shows and silent films along with headliners such as Ginger Rogers and the Sistine Choir prior to conversion to a “talking pictures” house in the 1930s. It boasted stints as the Paramount — a screening studio for motion pictures — and independent theaters that screened English and Spanish-speaking films until it was damaged by a fire in 1984.

The theatre reopened in 1995 as a concert venue and since 2005 has been operated by the nonprofit Rialto Theatre Foundation, which also manages 191 Toole and R Bar.

The Rialto now books almost 300 shows a year including concerts, comedy acts, spoken word shows, DJ battles and movie screenings. In 2021, it also began providing free educational outreach to local schools.

“The Rialto is a huge part of this community and has been for more than 100 years. It is also a big part of the reinvention of downtown and brings a lot of nightlife to downtown Tucson that you find in larger cities like Phoenix,” Evans said.

The unique venue and diverse offerings are invaluable assets to the entire community, according to Kelly Barnhill, a five-year member of the foundation board of directors and chair of the upcoming gala.

“I am a big fan of live music. The Rialto is a beautiful, historic building and a cornerstone and crown jewel of downtown Tucson. I really think it is an important organization to be involved with,” Barnhill said.

Gen Con is the country's largest annual gathering of fans and developers of tabletop games. From family classics like Settlers of Catan to new games from indie companies, the convention held in Indianapolis showcases some of the biggest players in the $3 billion board game industry as well as their most dedicated fans.

Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at ninch2@comcast.net


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