Ritz marquee glows again

Published 5:12 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On Monday night, something was sighted in downtown Greenville that’s been missing for a long while.

The vivid neon colors of the Ritz Theatre marquee were glowing once again.

“It’s so beautiful, so crisp and clean . . . it just draws you downtown, doesn’t it?” said Greenville Area Arts Council Director Nancy Idland.

The renovation of the marquee is the finishing touch of a lengthy restoration of the 1939 theater, one undertaken by the GAAC and the City of Greenville.

The work began on the long-neglected former movie palace in the early ‘80s. Over the years, new seating, a stage extension, additional dressing rooms, new carpeting, new heating/cooling along with interior paint and moldings reproducing the theater’s original Art Deco colors/style, were among the numerous improvements made.

The “new” marquee is actually a duplicate of the 1950’s version of the Ritz’s faade, the one many Greenvillians remember from their childhood.

“It brings back so many wonderful memories for me and I’m sure, for many other people who grew up here,” Idland said.

A special event to mark the Ritz marquee restoration is in the works for January, Idland said.

“We’ll be celebrating the fact ‘everything old is new again,’” she added.

Watch for additional news in upcoming issues of The Greenville Advocate.