103 W. Third Street,
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Built as a playhouse, the Ritz Theatre was opened on July 9, 1928 with a production of “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds”. Louis Rosenbaum was the district manager of Muscle Shoals Theatre, the company that owned the theatre, and C.J. Ross was the first manager of the Ritz Theatre. The Ritz Theatre had a seating capacity of 408 downstairs, 173 in the ‘white’ balcony and 101 in the ‘colored’ balcony, a total of 682 seats. The theatre had a Wurlitzer organ. It was refitted in 1933 to accomodate talkies and to undergo a sleek Art Deco style makeover. On Saturday January 23, 1933, the theatre had another ‘Grand Opening’ when President Roosevelt visited Florence that day.
The Ritz Theatre remained one of Sheffield’s most popular movie houses until it went out of business on June 9, 1951.
In 1985, the Ritz Theatre was purchased by the Tennesse Valley Arts Association, and restored to its 1930’s appearance, complete with its unusual auditorium side wall decoration, resembling giant fans.
The Ritz Theatre is now home to the Center Stage Community Theater, which performs both classic and contemporary plays in the setting of a classic small town movie house.
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