The Ritz Theatre Steals the Show
It's showtime! The house lights are down, the chandelier has been dimmed, and the curtain is opening. As you sit in your seat constructed to feel like the ones original to the building, eating popcorn and candy purchased at the concession stand, there’s a buzz of excitement in the air. Another great show at the Ritz Theatre is about to take place.
The Ritz Theatre joined the downtown Tiffin scene at a time when theaters were popping up everywhere to showcase the newest entertainment craze- movies. Original builders Dan Kerwin and Adam Ritzler wanted to create a theater more beautiful than any other around, a theater where the building itself was just as integral to the enjoyment of one’s evening as the show they were going to see. If the murals on the walls ornately depicting Italian art and architecture aren’t enough to take your breath away, certainly the magnificent, larger than life chandelier in the center of the house steals the show.
Of the four theaters built in Tiffin during the same era, the Ritz Theater is the only one still standing. The doors officially opened on December 10, 1928, hosting over 1,500 excited audience members to witness the Ritz Quality Orchestra. In 1998 the Ritz was renovated back to almost original condition, and stands as a reminder of the grandeur of movie palaces in an era long gone.
A unique aspect about the operation of the Ritz Theatre is the opportunities for local performers of all ages to get on stage and be a part of a show. The Ritz Players present a number of performances each year, performed by community members with a love of the stage, and often directed by local talent. Youth and teens can also get involved by joining the Ritz Teen Thespian Guild or participating in the annual summer camps. The Ritz Theatre Discovery Series presents four programs each year for school-age children to enjoy as a part of their academics.
The Ritz partners with educators throughout Northwest Ohio to create programming and Special Study Guides that allow for students to be exposed to the arts and tie their experience in the theater to the classroom. In addition, each year the Ritz brings in a number of headlining performances, comedy shows, concerts, and movie screenings. These are awesome opportunities to see renowned artists and discover up and coming performers.
The Ritz Theatre has been the setting of many memories for Seneca County residents. Most people can remember their first time seeing a show here, the feeling of performance jitters during a summer camp performance, or the energy of performing a dance recital in front of a full house. The bond over memories made at the Ritz is multigenerational and binds people together in unique ways. The next time you’re at the Ritz waiting for a show to start, take in the scenery and be reminded of the history and memories made here. The Ritz Theatre has something for everyone, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.