In 1933 Eugene Levy purchased the theater from George Cohen and “converted that playhouse of a gaudier era into an institution where cinematic and variety productions of the highest standard [were] presented with amazing skill, and affording the fascinated beholder the ultimate in comfort and convenience.” This would begin a new era for the Ritz Theater, which became a frequent stomping ground of many big name stars such as: Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima, Mary Martin, Peggy Lee, Wood Herman, Dick Powell, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Eddy Duchin, Red Skelton, Xavier Cugat, The Inkspots, Vaughn Monroe, Montana Slim, Les Brown, Ricardo Crotez, and many more.
On November 3, 1940, Frank Sinatra, an unknown singer at the time, stepped onto the Ritz Theater’s stage. The band of Tommy Dorsey backed Sinatra who captivated the Newburgh audience.
The Ritz Theater is most notably famous for being the stage where Lucille Ball made her stage debut. “On December 17th, 1941 she performed for the first time on stage and for the first time with her new husband, Desi Arnaz. It was on the Ritz stage that they planted the seeds for their sitcom, I Love Lucy.”