The Ritz Theatre in Carteret, New Jersey, originally opened on September 1, 1927. According to an article in “The Carteret Press,” “it was the first modern theater to be erected in the borough and is up-to-date in every respect.” The 1,000 to 1,200 seat Ritz (accounts on the number of seats differ) was designed by local architect John Gliva. It was a vaudeville and silent film house until September 1928, when a Western Electric sound apparatus was installed to show “talkie” films.
The theater closed on January 31, 1965, and the building was converted into a sewing factory. However, the building was not gutted during the conversion; walls were built inside the auditorium, covering and protecting the ornate plasterwork. After the bakery that had been occupying the building since the 1980s closed in 2013, the borough of Carteret took possession and discovered the protected auditorium behind the interior walls.
Carteret planned to restore and expand the Ritz into a 1,600 seat performing arts center and movie theater. In 2015, the borough received a $6 million grant from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund for the new performing arts center. However, a structural survey conducted during the planning stages revealed that restoring the existing structure would be cost-prohibitive. So, moving forward, the borough demolished the whole building and planned to honor the Ritz in the design of the new one. The Carteret Performing Arts Center opened on April 25, 2021, hosting live music and cultural events, off-broadway plays, and comedy acts.
Matt Lambros NJ Carteret Nov 23, 2021 Architecture