Ritz Theatre Grand Re-Opening
WELLINGTON, TEXAS — This small Texas town has successfully turned back the hands of time with the restoration of the beautiful Ritz Theatre on the downtown square. On Oct. 13, Wellington is throwing open the doors to its hometown pride for all to see as the Amarillo Little Theatre presents, “Sweet Dreams, Peggy Sue” live on the Ritz stage at 8 p.m.
Tickets are now on sale every evening in the lobby at the Wellington Ritz Theatre from 6:30 until 7 p.m. Tickets also can be purchased by mail at Wellington Ritz Theatre, P. O. Box 202, Wellington, TX 79095.
Following the opening night event, a week of clasic movies is planned to celebrate the Ritz’s cinematic heritage that dates back to April 1929 when the Ritz showed the first talkies in town through the magic of Vitaphone and Movietone singing and talking pictures.
“We want to use our grand opening to invite everyone in the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma to see what this town has accomplished,” said Joe Ponder, Ritz general manager. “If you can’t make it to Peggy Sue, try to catch one of our classics the following week.”
The Ritz was a near ruin just six years ago when a group called Historic Wellington formed to rescue the Ritz and other historical landmarks in Wellington. Through community support and a large anonymous donation, Historic Wellington raised more than $2.5 million to clean out years of debris and animal waste and rebuild the theater into a state-of-the-art movie and live performance venue.
Since August, the Ritz has been showing first-run movies, but has put off its grand opening until the ALT “Peggy Sue” peformance.
“We’re so lucky to have the ALT and other top-notch arts groups so close by in Amarillo,” said Frances Schmidt, vice president of Wellington Ritz Theatre, Inc. and chairwoman of the “Live at the Ritz” concert series. “Peggy Sue will be the first of several live performances scheduled throughout the fall and winter months.”
The concert series is made possible through a grant from the Amarillo Area Foundation, which seeks to boost arts and culture education in the Wellington area through Ritz live performances, Schmidt said.
For more information on the Ritz Theatre, go to the Wellington Ritz Theatre.