Ritz Theater

715 N. Chaparral Street,
Corpus Christi, TX 78401

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Showing 22 comments

DavidZornig on March 12, 2015 at 6:49 pm

1970’s photo added courtesy of Derek Galvan.

dfwcre8tive on March 22, 2012 at 9:47 am

The building has been listed on the 2012 list of Texas' Most Endangered Places. Here’s an article from a recent tour of the Ritz Theatre: http://www.unvisiteddallas.com/archives/1342

CSWalczak on February 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

A recent article about the effort to restore the Ritz, including an interior photo that will enlarge if clicked upon: View link.

spectrum on December 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Interesting – the Ritz has a long lobby from the street and also, straight back, a long and narrow auditorium.

spectrum on December 15, 2010 at 8:47 pm

They have been holding a number of fundraidingevents, some of them at the theatre itself, haunted halloween and ghost hunting type events in fall of 2010.

sarider on September 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm

August 2009 photo of the Ritz:
View link

Vnessuh on August 13, 2008 at 4:54 am

The Gulf Coast Ghost Hunters Association is doing Ghost Hunts at The Ritz every month. It’s $15 per person(must be 18+).

kencmcintyre on May 15, 2008 at 10:54 am

Here are two photos from 1936 and 1937, respectively:

HMRogers on July 11, 2007 at 12:55 pm

How do I find this photo of the Ritz Theatre submitted 11 July 2007?

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on December 1, 2006 at 7:08 am

Let’s take this discussion offline, everyone. I don’t want to see this theater page became yet another flame war.

If the Ritz is being restored, that’s a good thing. We can disagree about what makes a good “restoration”, but CCPATCH should get some credit for trying to do the right thing.

hkarsh on December 1, 2006 at 5:52 am

I have had experience and earned a living in New York City restoring turn of the century brownstones, and apartment buildings that were older than the Ritz and working performances in theaters older than the Ritz. I worked on the conversion of the Astor Place Library to the Public Theatre and lighting and building sets on several of it stages. I worked for the Living History Center in California for the original Renaissance Faire and Dickens Christmas Faire. I love historic events and buildings.
I found myself in Corpus Christi and I was hired to manage the 1800 seat Richardson Auditorium built in 1951 in 1992. I successfully single-handedly booked over fifty performances a year for many years. I had no professional help and relied on student labor which I also had to teach. However, the local community college that operated the auditorium had a problem with the concept of manager. In their eyes I was really just a backstage tech who could do everything including bookings. I knew quite a bit about technical theatre having worked in NY theatre and related areas since I was in high school in the sixties. What I didn’t know I learned. I began to consult with the experts and joined IAAM to hone my management skills. When I began to question the safety and health issues effecting the operation of the facility including the lack of employees and outdated contracts as well as the failure of the college to get liability insurance from users etc. etc., I was attacked as a disgruntled employee. I was than forced to prove that the auditorium was unsafe. Knowing that I could lose my job if the facility were shut down I weighed the risk of injury to the audience and the users and requested a safety report. The college safety office chose to go with Dr. Davidson known as Dr. Doom out of California. He told the college in no uncertain terms to shut down the facility. Than, I was the hero to most people who knew the story, however the administration and the regents did not take favorably to being told that they were now responsible for an unsafe, moldy and unhealthy facility that was going to cost a bundle, so while on the surface everyone including me thought a renovation was coming I was targeted and let go in 2004, twelve years after I started. There is no one in the arts community in Corpus Christi and at Del Mar College that know all the details of this story that do not credit me for the $5,000,000 plus facelift that was accomplished after I was removed as manager. That was partly done because the College knew that I would argue for a full renovation that made it possible for students to work and learn safely backstage. That full renovation did not happen. In Texas whistleblower protection is dependant on how deep the employee’s pockets are. Texas is a right to work state. The college could refuse to renew my contract without cause.
As for PATCH. I visited their WEB site and it is very slick. But there is nothing there to tell us why we should trust these people? What is their expertise? What is their experience? Where are the biographies? All the other venues in this town are controlled by special interests? Are we concerned about renovating the Ritz or the downtown? Personally I think if the Ritz is renovated the rest will come along. I did not turn Monica Sawyer away when she asked for my help. I helped her and gave her the benefit of my expertise and research. She chose not to include me in her group. I did not even get a phone call to say we appreciate your aid but for political reasons we don’t think we can have you on our board if that was the problem? That concerns me. I have friends in the technical theatre community and they could be very useful to raising funds and physically hands on restoring the Ritz. I don’t see any of them associated with this project. I did not even know there was a WEB page until I made the above comments. Read into that what you like but I think the slick WEB page, the abbreviated history that fails to point out why this theatre could be so important to historic theatre buffs, and the lack of creditable expertise on its board points to people with an agenda that may not be a full restoration for the public good but for a private few.

smartrep on November 29, 2006 at 7:34 pm

Mr. Karsh was replaced in his “management” position of the 1800seat college auditorium approximately two years ago, prior to that facility’s new $4 million+ renovations.
There have been several others besides Mr. Karsh that have had the “desire” to reopen and restore the Ritz Theater in years past.
Besides being a supporter of the restoration of the State Theater in Easton PA.,and a regular patron of the Grand Opera House and the Dupont Theater in Wilmington DE,I support Ms. Sawyer and the activities of CCPATCH Board of Directors in their restoration efforts concerning the Ritz Theatre.
It is Mr. Karsh that should “careful”, and mindfully so, of what he chooses to put in print and verbalize when making inferences as to the “agenda” of those who are involved with the efforts of revitalizing this community’s treasure.

HMRogers on November 29, 2006 at 1:12 am

My father Henry Rogers, Jr. was sent to Corpus by R & R to this theatre in the fall of 1943. I believe we were there about 6 months. I have no idea why he was sent or for what purpose. He was the assistant manager of the theatres in Sweetwater.

monicamcl on November 28, 2006 at 7:22 am

CCPATCH is a legitimate non-profit that was organized to restore The Ritz. All of our meetings are open to the public, and are posted on our web site. The agendas are also posted. We have been working with The League of Historic American Theatres to make sure that the restoration is done the right way. The owner will not donate the theatre to us unless we do a full-scale historic restoration. Please visit our web site at http://www.ccpatch.org and judge for yourself. I welcome any comments and advice. We also have several members of arts groups on our board of directors. The Arts and Cultural Commision as well as the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet are represented. We also have one member who has organized the Festival of the Arts and is involved with the Jazz Society.

hkarsh on November 28, 2006 at 6:37 am

I was contacted by Ms Sawyer over a year ago. I openly and voluntarily shared with her my many hours of research on the Ritz and my experience managing an 1800 seat auditorium here in Corpus Christi. The types of local performance groups the outside bookings that would find the Ritz to their liking.
My interest was in getting another venue for the performing arts here in Corpus Christi. That was the last I heard from Ms. Sawyer. She organized an insider group of friends, and politicos after they got my research. I saw no performing arts people listed. Now, when I get calls from people asking me what’s going on with the Ritz? I have to tell them I’m not an insider. They have held no open meetings. Be careful if you deal with this group. I believe they have an agenda and that agenda may not be a full restoration. The Ritz was not built with modern amenities in mind and a full restoration would require an additional building to house all the support stuff, restrooms, kitchen, ticketing etc. Enough said.

monicamcl on August 30, 2005 at 11:38 am

Currently, the non-profit corporation PATCH is trying to acquire the theatre for a full restoration. The owner has pledged to donate the theatre to the non-profit. We are in negotiations and are waiting for the contract to be complete and signed. If you have any history, photos, information or anything that can help us reach our goal, please contact Monica Sawyer, PATCH founder, at 361-887-5054 or

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 9, 2005 at 6:39 am

The Ritz Theatre opened in 1929. It closed as a movie house in the summer of 1972. It re-opened as the Ritz Music Hall, a performing center for Rock ‘n Roll and western stars in 1974.

Apena on March 12, 2005 at 5:19 pm

I saw my first rock concert in November of 1983 – Nazareth. I know Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Def Leppard & Motley Crue have played here. Wish it could open back up.

hkarsh on October 25, 2004 at 2:38 pm

I am trying to put together a project to restore the Ritz Theater. Please contact me at .com Thank you.

HMRogers on October 1, 2004 at 4:03 pm

My father and grandfather worked for the Robb and Rowley Theatres. My grandfather began with them in Sweetwater where they were from. He retired in 1955. I know many stories and would like to know if there is a museum or collection for R & R memoribilia.


William on December 15, 2003 at 7:05 pm

During the 50’s it seated 1348 people.