SCRANTON, LACKAWANA (WBRE/WYOU) — Downtown Scranton’s historic Ritz Theater & Performing Arts Center turns 115 on Friday, September 2nd.

The 115th-anniversary ceremony opened Friday morning with remarks from Creative and Performing Arts Academy (CaPAA) owner Sheri Melcher and EP and CEO of the Ritz Michael Melcher.

Afterward, Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti spoke, then they performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of the theater led by Ritz historian Karl Barbee. After the tour, visitors were treated to a birthday cake.

The theater, originally known as “The Poli,” was first founded in 1907. It has seen performances from several legendary entertainers, including Harry Houdini, W.C. Fields, Mae West, Ray Bolger, Gracie Allen, Fannie Brice, and Will Rogers.

The theater hosts the Creative and Performing Arts Academy of NEPA, which helps 300 kids, teens, and adults explore their love of theater.

The Ritz Theater also showcases performances from The Ritz Mainstage Players, a semi-professional audition-based company that provides performance opportunities for all ages.

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