Spicing up theater is first step

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2008

With a little luck, some hard work and some well-placed tender loving care, a little magic may once again come to downtown Natchez in a few months.

After a flip of a switch, years of hope will turn into neon dreams of the past as the Art Deco faade of the former Ritz Theater on Commerce Street comes to life again.

Last used as a movie theater in the 1960s, the 1869 building has been a bit of an eyesore along Commerce Street for decades.

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In 2000, the roof collapsed, eventually leading to the collapse of the floor. Today, only a shell of the building remains, but the faade is considered the best example of Art Deco architecture in the city.

With funding secured by the Historic Natchez Foundation, the front of the building is being reworked. From the neon sign being restored to the old glass ticket booth, the historic building is about to look great again — at least to the passing eye.

We’re fortunate that the Historic Natchez Foundation has expressed such interest in protecting the building.

Hopefully, one day soon someone can generate enough funds to restore the building to its original state. What a wonderful location it might be for either a weekend-only downtown theater showing classic films or perhaps home to community theater groups.

The possibilities are endless, but we’ll all get a glimpse of what the future may ultimately hold when the building’s exterior comes to life.

That’s a premiere that we can’t wait to see.