Helen Stairs Theatre
203 S. Magnolia Avenue,
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The theatre is built on the site of the former Star Theatre, which was a failed movie house that had stood abandoned several years, and began making plans for the new entertainment center. Augusta, Georgia Architects Scroggs and Ewing were hired to prepare the plans.
The theater opened in July 1923.
In 1933, the theater was sold to Lake Mary investors Frank and Stella Evans. The Evans changed the name of the Milane to the Ritz in 1936. The Evans heirs held the property until the 1990s. The Ritz struggled to retain its viability in the 1960s and closed in 1978, after failing to compete with the new multiplex theaters. It stood vacant until 1984, when it reopened as the Showtime Cantina.
Four years later, the building again was taken out of service as a movie house. It remained vacant and without maintenance or repairs until the mid 1990s, when Ritz Community Theater Projects, Inc., acquired the property and began rehabilitation in 1998.
The newly restored and renamed theatre was re-opened on May 6, 2000. The theatre enjoys recognition in the Congressional Records of the United States and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
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