Ritz Theatre Iowa Center for the Performing Arts

119 E. Van Buren Street,
Centerville, IA 52544

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Ritz Theatre Iowa Center for the Performing Arts

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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 theater to its 1920’s glory. A five part renovation plan was begun in August 2001. Once complete, the Ritz Theatre will be used for performing arts, classic film screenings and for rental purposes.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

William
William on December 5, 2003 at 12:57 pm

When the Ritz Theatre was a movie theatre it seated 450 people.

sdavis
sdavis on March 2, 2005 at 9:00 pm

when will it be ready … for me?

ACCA
ACCA on August 10, 2006 at 6:40 pm

Please change “Related Websites” to www.ritztheatreiowa.com The above link is broken.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 29, 2008 at 11:52 pm

Some additional information here. I don’t know why there’s a discepancy in the two addresses, though.
http://tinyurl.com/3jfp38

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on March 28, 2009 at 5:49 pm

From the September 29th post above:

It was at the Ritz Theatre that people came to see the movie that had been filmed on location on Centerville’s Town Square. The stars of the 1921 silent movie were Norma Talmadge and Harrison Ford. The title was Loves Redemption: Its a Wonderful Thing.

Harrison looks good for his age….

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 20, 2009 at 8:37 pm

I’ve seen Harrison Ford in quite a few silent movie listings. He must have been popular in his day.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 5, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Plans for the restoration of the Ritz Theatre were done by the Des Moines firm Wetherell Ericsson Architects. The successor firm to Wetherell & Harrison, designers of many theaters in Iowa, Wetherell Ericsson merged with RDG Planning Design in 2007. RDG’s web site has this page about the Ritz. They give 2012 as the expected year for the completion of the project.

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