Teatro Carmen opened on May 20, 1915, a gloriously-appointed Sonoran mission-style theatre that sat 1,400 and included an impressively large stage, powerful lighting, and an embossed ceiling. The proprietor, Carmen Soto, wanted a state-of-the-art venue in Tucson for traveling Spanish and Mexican theatre troupes and musicians to come and perform Spanish-language dramatic works and concerts. Teatro Carmen productions rapidly became an elegant affair for high-society Latino figures in Tucson to be seen and enjoy the finest in live entertainment. By 1926 however, Soto had trouble drawing the repertory companies the theatre depended on, and before long the beautiful venue became moribund. The façade remains a potent and impressive reminder of an era in the barrio gone by.
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