The Ritz Theatre - Performing Arts Center
The Ritz was built on the site of the 1865 Drake Opera House/People's Theatre/Star Theatre/ Jacob's Theatre/Proctor's Theatre. The theatre was purchased in 1925 by Jacob Fabian, who hired architect Fred Wesley Wentworth to design the Ritz Theatre on the site, which opened on March 9, 1926 with 2,791 seats. By 1941 it was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. In 1994 purchased by George Castro, who has restored it to its 1920s grand appearance.
The Ritz Theatre and Performing Arts Center in downtown Elizabeth, NJ is one of the rare “double decker” theatres in existence. Designed by renowned architect Jacob Fabian, The Ritz Theatre was originally a vaudeville house. The three story complex has a large 1,700-seat theatre at ground level and a loge and balcony with 1,080 seats occupying the top four floors beneath the roof. This is a fairly wide building with a deep pitch which allows anyone to enjoy any concert from any seat. In essence, the Ritz Theatre does not have a bad seat. But the main theatre, with its cavernous balconies, has always been one of the tri-state area’s leaders, first with vaudeville and then as a concert and show venue. In full operation, The Ritz Theatre and Performing Arts Center has been the recipient of many Awards including 14 Time Award Winner for best acoustics in the US. Located two blocks from the train station and a multilevel parking deck located immediately behind the Theatre, with a parking capacity of 2000 vehicles, the Ritz has been considered by many as the best option to see a concert, show or comedy. Its proximity to the train station has allowed people to travel from New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, Washington and Massachusetts to travel the distance and live an experience. The elegance of the Ritz remains; its vibrant colors and grandeur offer a spectacular subject for urbex photographers who have captured these stunning images. The 2,800 seat theatre boasts a 1/2-ton chandelier, murals, tiled floors, carved crown moldings and impressive marble floors. The completely renovated Ritz Theatre still boasts the impressive original Marquee.