Ritz Theatre

960 5th Avenue,
New Kensington, PA 15068

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Previous Names: Imperial Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Ritz Theatre-New Kensington, PA

The Imperial Theatre was one of three theatres within three blocks of each other on 5th Avenue. It was opened in 1922 by the Columbus Amusement Company. Very impressive front on the theatre which reminds me of the Missouri Theatre in St. Joseph, Mo. In 1927 it was remodeled and enlarged to a capacity of 1,100-seats and reopened as the Ritz Theatre. By 1941 it was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. The Ritz Theatre was still listed as open in 1952, but had closed by 1955. During the 1980’s it was Fishers Recreation Hall and then became the New Ken Bingo Hall, which had closed by July 2007. The building stood unused and ‘For Sale’ into the late-2010’s. It was purchased by the Voodoo Brewing Company and converted into a bar which had opened by September 2021.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 1, 2014 at 8:56 pm

A document prepared for the nomination of the New Kensington Downtown Historic District to the NRHP says that the Ritz Theatre opened in 1922.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 22, 2024 at 4:05 pm

This item from Moving Picture World of October 1, 1927, appears to contradict the information in the NRHP form I cited in my previous comment:

“One of the most important theatre projects in the local territory, has recently been undertaken by the Columbus Amusement Company, who also operate the Liberty, Strand and State theatres in New Kensington. The new theatre, which will be known as the Ritz, will occupy the site formerly occupied by the old Imperial theatre on Fifth avenue, New Kensington. The new house will seat 1100 persons, and opening is expected by October 17th. Vaudeville and first run pictures will be the attractions. Samuel Haimovitz is president and general manager of the company; William Leibovitz is vice president and treasurer and Russell C. Roshon is publicity director.”
Some light is shed on this puzzle by an item in the July 23, 1927 issue of The Billboard, which notes that the Columbus Amusement Company had taken a long term lease on the Imperial Theatre at New Kensington and would expand the house to 1,100 seats. Indeed, the FDY lists the Imperial from 1926 through 1928, and the Ritz only makes its first appearance in the 1929 edition. I don’t know if the company made their goal of an October 17, 1927 opening or not, but the Ritz surely must have been opened by 1928. In any case, this house needs its opening name of Imperial Theatre added as an aka.

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