The lights go down and the curtain comes up. At the Ritz Theatre Co. in Haddon Township, that’s when the adventure begins.
Serving more than 73,300 residents of the Delaware Valley year-round, the Ritz Theatre Co. offers professional performances and outreach/educational programs. While aspiring actors bring stories to life on the big stage, audience members have the opportunity to get involved as well.
Six main stage productions and 11 children’s shows make up each season at the Ritz.
An early start In September 1927, the Ritz Theatre opened as a movie house and made a name for itself in the South Jersey community. Greek architecture and 25-foot-high, neo-classical canvas murals gave the theater its identity.
As the decades wore on, programming at the theater evolved. According to the Ritz’s website, the company offered fine art and foreign films in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, the Ritz changed gears in becoming a porno movie house.
The Ritz changed again in the 1980s. In 1986, the theater company re-established itself as a driving force in South Jersey entertainment to become a version much closer to that of the present day.
See a show The 2011 Mainstage Season is planned to include “Hairspray” — Jan. 6 - Feb. 5 Master Class — Feb. 24 - March 26 “Diary of Anne Frank” — April 14 - May 15 “All Shook Up” — July 7 - August 6 “Moon Over Buffalo” — Sept. 8 - Oct. 8 “Barnum” — Oct. 20 - Nov. 19
The Children's Series 2011 season is scheduled to stage “Hans Brinker” — Jan. 13- 15 “Rapunzel” — Feb. 3 - 5 “The Prince & The Pauper” — March 10 - 12 “Little Red Riding Hood” — April 21 - 23 “The Shoemaker and the Elves” — May 12 - 14 “Chicken Little” — June 2 - 4 “The Jungle Book” — July 12 - 16 “The Emperor's New Clothes” — Oct. 27 - 29 “12 Dancing Princesses” — Nov. 17 - 19 “Frosty the Snow Man” — Dec. 12 - 17
To buy tickets for any Ritz show, call 856-858-5230 or purchase online. Box office hours are 1pm to 6pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. Doors open 30 minutes prior to show time.
Break a leg The Ritz Theatre Co. is always looking for volunteers. Opportunities include painting and developing sets, marketing, and supervising the art gallery. Volunteers can receive a complimentary ticket program and invitations to special events and programs. To sign up, click here.
Think you can act? The Ritz Theatre Co. holds auditions for all main stage shows. Scheduling begins one month prior to the audition. To make an appointment, call 856-858-5230 ext. 201 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To see the full schedule of audition dates and locations for the 2010 season, click here. Those auditioning are asked to bring a headshot and a resume.
Also at The Ritz In addition to main stage performances and a children’s series, the theater company offers occasional art galleries. The Ritz showcased the work of full-time painter Sharon Paisner in an earlier exhibition.
Trying to decide if you want to see a show? You can watch previews and trailers on YouTube of main stage performances directly from their website.
The Ritz Theatre Co. is located at 915 White Horse Pike in the Arts District of Haddon Township. For more information, call 856-858-5230 or go to ritztheatreco.org.