$400,000 Approved to Restore the Ritz Theater

Yesterday, the Ritz Theater made a wonderful announcement. They have been awarded $400,000 to assist in the restoration of the theater. This secured approval by the House was announced by Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). According to Hinchey: 

“The renovation of this historic theater, including the restoration of the original full-scale Broadway stage, will be the capstone on the visionary and ambitious redevelopment of the former Hotel Newburgh property by Safe Harbors of the Hudson. Once returned to its former grandeur, this theater will become an important regional venue for the performing arts and serve as a home for local arts organizations.”

The Ritz Theater is where Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz performed their first live show “I Love Lucy” on December 17, 1941. When completed, the Theater will have 825 seats, theater storage, and dressing rooms in the basement. According to Safe Harbors of the Hudson, the theater is sealed off from the rest of the of the building and is well preserved. I hope “well preserved” means that there is original wood work and details from when the theater was originally open. But then again maybe not, as I check out the current condition of the building on SHOH’s flickr photos of the theater. SHOH has a picture of some of the original seating in the theater.

(source)Found via Cinema Treasures
Found via Cinema Treasures

There is no word yet on when renovations will begin, as this news was just announced yesterday. But, I would imagine developments to begin 2010-2011 as these funds were included in the 2010 HUD bill. Hopefully this restoration will make Newburgh a cultural destination as it was in it’s heyday and bring people into the city. Imagine the impact 825 sold out seats will have on the city. People will need places to dine before or after the show, a place to grab a cup of coffee, or maybe just a place to discuss their reviews. Only time will tell what is in store. For more positive Newburgh news check out this link.

5 Comment

  • I like this blog a lot, always keeps us updated.I love the person who made it…

  • I moved to albany in 2004, Newburgh was my home. Every time i visit Newburgh, it looks so empty and dismal, i DON'T feel love there anymore. Maybe restoring the theatre will help bring Newburgh back to life.

  • Anonymous- a lot of things are going on in Newburgh to bring back the "love". Stick around and you will see. But restoring the stage is definitely putting the city in the right direction. There are going to be 825 seats. Imagine what kind of influence sold out shows could have on the city. We will see in 2010 when work begins.

  • any updates on this?

  • YUP! I am going to be doing a post on a recent tour I did of the Ritz in a few weeks!