Ritz Theatre Iowa Center for the Performing Arts
119 E. Van Buren Street,
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Firms: Wetherell & Harrison
Previous Names: Majestic Theatre, Orpheum Theatre, Ritz Theatre
Built in 1893, this opened in the early-1900’s as the Majestic Theatre in a late-19th Century building originally housing a newspaper’s offices, the theater later was renamed the Orpheum Theatre. After a remodeling in 1926, the Orpheum Theatre was renamed the Ritz Theatre.
Designed on the exterior in Mission Revival style, the interior was decorated in a Renaissance/Neo-Classical design complete with gilded plasterwork and a painted sky on the auditorium ceiling. The Ritz Theatre also contained a small orchestra pit, stage and balcony. After being a popular venue for movies and live entertainment for decades, the Ritz Theatre closed, and the building was occupied by everything from a drug store to a bridal shop to a church.
In 2000, the Appanoose County Coalition for the Arts was created, and took over ownership of the Ritz Theatre with the intent to restore the theatre to its 1920’s glory. A five part renovation plan was begun in August 2001. The Ritz Theatre is used for performing arts, classic film screenings and for rental purposes.
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