Ritz Theatre receives repairs ahead of show

Published 4:33 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The historic Ritz Theatre recently got a makeover.

The Ritz, which originally opened in 1935, received a fresh coat of paint, repairs to its sheetrock and new stage curtains just in time for the Greenville Area Arts Council’s annual production of “Putting on the Ritz.”

The improvements, which totaled $19,045, were paid for from the Ritz Restoration Fund, which is financed by a surcharge on tickets sold to Ritz productions and is managed by the City of Greenville. The City purchased the Ritz Theatre in 1982 after the building had fallen into disrepair.

In a letter written to the Greenville City Council, Mary Ann Hamilton, chairman of the Ritz Theatre Advisory Board, informed the council that a request for a 2012 Historic Preservation Grant for Work on Historic Buildings had been denied and asked that the much-needed repairs be paid for from the Ritz surcharge account.

“With the upcoming production of the annual “Putting on the Ritz,” we expect a full house for the nights of April 26, 27 and 28,” she wrote. “Traditionally this production has played host to local patrons as well as many out of town guests, including state dignitaries. We want to put our best foot forward along with preserving the integrity of the Ritz structure. In their present condition the curtains at the Ritz are torn and tattered. Rain water continues to leak under the metal exit doors, drenching the carpet, and creating the threat of mold and mildew and an unsafe environment.”

GAAC Executive Director Nancy Idland was thrilled with the addition of the new curtains, and the repairs made around the Ritz.

“We really needed new curtains. Our old curtains were being held together by duct tape,” she said. “These new curtains are just fantastic.”

The last time the curtains were replaced in the Ritz was 1982. The theatre had not been painted since 1990.

The carpets at the Ritz have also been cleaned in preparation for the upcoming show.