By Peter Becker
HAWLEY - Think of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, where stars of screen and stage are immortalized in the pavement out front.
Why not at the Ritz?
Hawley Council on June 12th discussed a fund-raiser planned by the Ritz Company Playhouse, where paving bricks sponsors will be sought to have lettering engraved and displayed for years to come on the walkway under the marquee on Keystone Street.
Sandy Gabrielson, board member of Ritz Company Playhouse, told The News Eagle that between 700 and 800 bricks will be available, creating a brick pavement completely under the marquee out to the curb. They plan to start selling sponsorships on the July 4th Weekend, and have them ready for placement next year, 2014.
Suggested ideas are to sponsor a brick in memory of a loved one, or for a cast member from the 41 year history of Ritz Company Playhouse to be remembered in an engraving. The year, show and actor/actress' name could be inscribed. Larger bricks are also planned, engraved in honor of founders of the Ritz Company Playhouse, Peg and Dick Murphy and Ed Buckmaster.
Gabrielson said that they are still deciding which brick supplier to use, before announcing prices and full details.
The paving project will also help improve the appearance of the exterior, Gabrielson said, complementing the work done on the facade this past year. A state matching grant enabled them to paint the marquee, doors and windows and other work. That project is nearly complete.
Revenue, he said, is raised by donations, box office sales and small grants. While the non-profit theater group is all volunteer, the cost for any one production includes in part, as much as $3000- $4000 to rent the rights to use the script the music, Gabrislon said.
James Simpson, who acted as a youth at the Ritz, painted the marquee, and suggested the paving brick sponsorships. He said a similar project was successful at the Hawley United Methodist Church.
• Ritz Company Playhouse is starting their 41st season with "Little Frankenstein." a musical by Mel Brooks. There are nine performances, starting Friday, July 5.
Performances are scheduled July 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 with the curtain raising at 8 p.m. There is also a matinee Sunday July 21st at 2:30 p.m.
• Ritz Theatre Junior Actors present "Disney The Little Mermaid Jr."
July 26, 27, 28, Aug 2, 3 - Curtain 7:30 p.m.; matinee Sunday Aug 4th, 2:30 p.m.
• GHOST of a Chance, a comedy by Flip Kobler and Cindy Marcus.
Aug 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 - Curtain 8 p.m. Matinee Sunday Aug 18th, 2:30 p.m.
• Take a Number, Darling, a comedy by Jack Sharkey.
August 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 - Curtain 8 p.m. Matinee Sunday Sept 1st, 2:30 p.m.
• You’ve Got HATE MAIL- Adult comedy by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore
Sept 13, 14, 20, 21 - Curtain 8 p.m. Matinee Sunday Sept 22nd, 2:30 p.m.
Ritz Theater is located at 512 Keystone Street. The Ritz originated as a movie house in 1935 and was purchased in 1973 for live stage theater.
For more information, contact the Ritz Box Office at (570)226-9752 or visit online at ritzplayhouse.com.