Arts & Entertainment

The Rialto Theater is one of Tacoma’s best artistic gems

I had the pleasure of experiencing a wonderful performance by the John Pizzarelli Trio at the Rialto Theater located in the Tacoma Theater District. The show was inspiring, captivating and a perfect way to relax and cap off the weekend.

Pizzarelli — who is one of the most prolific jazz musicians of the modern era — played a whole set dedicated to his personal hero, Nat King Cole. Each song was accompanied by a short narration by Pizzarelli himself, explaining the historical context and Cole’s contribution to the music industry. The music was provocative and evoked a full range of emotions, going from delightful and joyful to somber and reminiscent, displaying the powerful ability that music has to capture a moment in time. Enhanced by brilliant stage lighting, the audience was kept enamored throughout the entire performance.

Besides the music itself, most of all, I left thoroughly impressed by the enchanting interior and acoustics of the Rialto Theater, which has been a staple in Tacoma’s Downtown Theater District since 1918. The Rialto’s coved ceiling and classical ornamentation makes the theater feel every bit as historic as its 100-year history would suggest, allowing the audience to escape — if only for just a couple hours — from the bustle of modern life and into a quaint setting to truly appreciate the performance at-hand. Once the show starts and the lights go off, the expert stage lighting directs all attention to the show itself, which at the Rialto Theater, is sure to be a treat for everyone involved.

Perfect for a date-night or an otherwise worthwhile way to spend your time, the Rialto Theater has several really intriguing events coming up in the next few weeks. Most immediately, as part of Tacoma Arts Live’s Racial Equity Series, James Forman Jr. will be at the Rialto on April 18 to speak on his new book titled “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.” The book explores how decisions made by political leaders contributed to disproportionately incarcerating people of color, with Forman Jr. hoping to inspire and arm the audience with concrete ideas for how they themselves can contribute to change.


To learn more about future events and purchase tickets, visit and their “calendar” section to see what’s in store for your next night to remember.