You might be wondering why Scranton Fringe has been pointing all of our spotlights on the Ritz Theater this week. Well, the BIG NEWS *drum-roll please* is that Fringe has found a new home starting September 1st! This historic building is a treasure chest of intrigue and charisma, and we can’t wait to explore our new Official Fringe Headquarters! Watch out 222 Wyoming Avenue, Fringe is coming! (And if you’ve been reading our blog you know that our HQ won’t be the only Fringe presence there this fall!) If this excites you as much as it excites us, you better keep on reading!
The newest partner in our great Fringe endeavor has an amazing history that leads to its multi-purpose use today. First let’s flash back about a century for a quick history lesson on the Ritz. In the early 1900s, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre were two hot-spots for traveling vaudeville shows. In 1907, Sylvester Poli founded the Poli Theater in downtown Scranton. The theater seated 2000 people, and was a popular vaudeville show house. Many stars played the theater such as Houdini, Burns and Allen, Mae West, Will Rogers, Buffalo Bill Cody and W.C. Fields. In the next two decades, the theater switched hands a few times, becoming the Comerford Theater, later becoming the Ritz Theater in the early 2000s.
In 2008, the theater was re-furbished as a dinner theater, offering quirky options such as a piano bar and live performances. The building was even explored by a paranormal search team, Ghost Finders! In January 2009 one of its first floor spaces served as the original home of The Vintage Theater (co-founded by one of our Fringe founders, Conor O’Brien). Such an amazing building still holds the essence of its early years as a fast-paced, bustling vaudeville house. It also contains a a coin and jewelry store, law offices, and a specialty boutique. Although there haven’t been live performances there for a while, we aim to change that in October 2015!
So why else are WE so excited about the Ritz? This location will be a triple-threat asset for the Scranton Fringe: Not only is Terra Preta restaurant a button-partner sponsor that will offer discounts to Fringe button-holders until the end of the year, but they are also a newly solidified venue for some of our performances! And last but certainly not least, don’t forget the Ritz will be the home of our official Fringe Headquarters! Can we get a round of applause for the Ritz Theater? We are so excited to explore this amazing location, and can’t wait for YOU to check it out! So, stop by our HQ starting September 1st, and be sure to get some delicious food at Terra Preta while you’re there!