Ritz Theater

222 Wyoming Avenue,
Scranton, PA 18503

Unfavorite 6 people favorited this theater

Related Websites

Ritz Theater (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Comerford Theaters Inc., Paramount-Publix, Poli

Architects: Albert E. Westover

Functions: Movies, Performing Arts

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Poli Theatre, Comerford Theatre, Ritz Dinner Theatre & Restaurant, Ritz Theatre and Performing Arts Center

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 570.252.4156

Nearby Theaters

News About This Theater


Built by vaudeville theatre magnate Sylvester Poli, the Poli Theatre opened on September 2, 1907 and was built for a then monumental sum of $250,000. A large vaudeville house, the Poli Theatre seated more than 2,000 patrons in orchestra, balcony and 2nd balcony levels.

The Poli Theatre was later acquired by the Union Theater Company in 1924.

On October 6, 1930, the theatre began showing movies only and was renamed Ritz Theatre. In 1937, it was remodeled in an Art Deco style and renamed again as the Comerford Theatre from September 16, 1937. The seating capacity was now 1,600 after the 2nd balcony level had been removed. By 1941 it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Frank Walker. It was remodeled with a new interior designed by B. Allman & Company of New York, and reopened on May 5, 1950 with Lizbeth Scott ‘Scranton’s Own’ in “Paid in Full”.

The theatre lasted for decades and in its last years was a dollar house struggling against a local UA multiplex. In 1978 the main floor was converted into a mini-mall, and the theatre operation was in the former balcony.

In the early-2000’s the Ritz Theatre, with its nearly 100 years of service closed.

In 2008, the Ritz Theatre reopened as a dinner theater and restaurant, with a piano bar and club with live performances. However this was a short lived venture. In late-2016 it was taken over by the Crative Performing Arts Academy and presents movies for its students. It reopened to the general public in March 2017.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

TLSLOEWS on February 27, 2010 at 11:56 am

Nice photos Chuck1231.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

Testimony in a 1911 lawsuit involving the Poli Theatre at Scranton reveals that the architect of the house was Albert E. Westover. The testimony was published in volume 80 of the legal journal Atlantic Reporter.

archtypeman on May 20, 2013 at 11:47 am

New photos of The Beautiful Ritz Building….For Sale….and space for lease, call Teresa Ripley at 570-843-6110

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 16, 2015 at 7:15 pm

This web page has a very early photo of the facade of the Poli Theatre in Scranton as is was originally designed by Albert Westover.

Ritz_Scranton on January 3, 2017 at 6:45 pm

My wife and I just signed a seven year lease on this theater with the goal of getting this theater back open. We own the Creative and Performing Arts Academy of NEPA with about 300 kids grades Pre-K through 12th. We are in the process of securing a $100K grant to replace the HVAC in the theater. It looks very strong we will get it and knock wood, we will be open for public performances by March 2017. The school moved in Sept 2016.

We also have installed a hi-def video projector and have begun showing movies for our students. They look amazing. If you are in Scranton, come visit us or check out our website capaa.org.

If you run this site, please change the status to open. I’d love to update you on our progress so you can share it with your readers.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 18, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Since 1978, when the main floor of the Comerford Theatre was converted into a mini-mall, the Ritz has occupied only the former theater’s balcony, so the listed seating capacity of 1,600 is vastly overstated.

Michael Comrford had bought an interest in the Poli Theatres in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre in 1924, but it was when he formed a partnership with Paramount-Publix in 1930 that the Poli was renamed the Ritz, following a renovation.

An article in the May 31, 2009, issue of the Scranton Times-Tribune says that the far more extensive remodeling (almost a complete rebuilding) creating the theater as it existed until 1978 didn’t take place until 1937. This project involved the removal of the Poli’s gallery, the rebuilding of the balcony, an enlargement of the stage, and the construction of the new Art Deco front of glazed tiles. The reopening of the house as the Comerford Theatre took place on September 16, 1937.

rivest266 on March 5, 2019 at 4:45 pm

The opening dates are September 2nd, 1907 for Poli’s, October 6th, 1930 for the Ritz and September 16th, 1937 for the Comerford. Grand opening ads posted.

rivest266 on March 6, 2019 at 3:17 pm

This reopened as the Ritz Courtyard on November 15th, 1978 with the world premiere of “Magic”. Grand opening ad posted.

Shamus248 on May 22, 2024 at 8:35 pm

reopening as a movie theater. partnering with Coca-Cola for a $1 movie series the first wednesday of every month, starting June 5 with “The Sandlot”

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.