Ritz Theatre

1148 E. Jersey Street,
Elizabeth, NJ 07201

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Ritz Theatre, Elizabeth, NJ

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built on the site of the Drake Opera House/People’s Theatre/Star Theatre/ Jacob’s Theatre/Proctor’s Theatre. The theatre was purchased in 1925 by Jacob Fabian, who hired architect Fred Wesley Wentworth to design the Ritz Theatre on the site, which opened on March 9, 1926 with 2,791 seats. By 1941 it was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Entered a period of decline from the 1960’s onward. By 1980 it was threatened with demolition to build a parking lot. Rescued by local philanthropists who set out to restore the theater. They ran out of money in 1989. In 1994 purchased by George Castro, who has restored it to its 1920’s grandeur. Currently a performing arts center.

Contributed by TC

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 25, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I didn’t post the above comment.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 7, 2009 at 9:22 am

Here is an updated link for LoopNet. The price is $3,800,000.

markp on September 25, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Hope it gets sold soon, so perhaps then it can take off with shows and classic films.

RoadsideArchitecture.com on March 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm

The theatre is open (their website shows upcoming entertainment & movies). Here’s a photo I took this past weekend:

chasard321 on March 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I had my first job there. 1966, as an usher. $1/hr.
I think the manager’s name was Mr Oswald. He’d been a history major.

markp on March 6, 2012 at 8:16 am

Still waiting, still hoping this place can get into the hands of someone who can really bring it back to life. Concerts, Broadway shows, movies, opera. I know this place can do well. People said the same thing about New Brunswick and Newark, and look at the venues they now have.

repolton on October 9, 2012 at 11:19 am

For more information about the building’s architect, see the website www.fredwesleywentworth.com I recently completed a book that focuses on the collaboration between Wentworth and Jacob Fabian, movie theater entrepreneur. REP

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