111 E. Market Street,
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The building’s portion of what was to become the Ritz Theatre’s foyer was built in the 1890’s. The auditorium portion was built in 1926. The owner of the three storefront building wanted to build a movie theatre so his goal was achieved by knocking out the back wall of the middle store and adding the auditorium. Aesthetically, both buildings blend together harmoniously. If I hadn’t been told the Ritz Theatre’s structural history by its manager, I, like most observers, would have assumed the building was built as the Ritz Theatre complex.
Today, the Ritz Theatre (twinned in the 1970’s) seats a total of approximately 640. The twinning was done lengthwise down the middle but I’d swear one auditorium is larger than the other. The “larger” side seats 340 while the other side seats 300. The original wall fixtures were removed from the exterior wall of the smaller side and placed on dividing wall inside the larger auditorium. The Ritz Theatre was built without a balcony and I’d guess its original seating capacity at about 800 – 900. The auditorium’s several fluted floor to ceiling half pillars appear to be decorative rather than structural. An ugly dropped tiled ceiling covers what old pictures show to be a rather plain plastered ceiling.
Unfortunately, the Ritz Theatre, today is rather tired looking. One auditorium has seats from three time periods while the other displays two. The Ritz Theatre’s marquee is quite nice and I hope to return soon to see a movie.
The Ritz Thetare operates seven days per week with each auditorium screening (depending whether it’s considered peak season or not) between 7 and 16 showings. The Ritz Theatre is a first run house and its $5.00 admission charge makes it a bargain. The Ritz Theatre is owned by the person who owns the theatre (also twinned) in St. Mary’s, PA.
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