Eugene Levy purchased and renovated the theater and renamed it the Ritz. It was then that the theater began its most illustrious chapter, with big-name films and live performances by stars such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima, Mary Martin, Peggy Lee, Woody Herman, Dick Powell, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Eddy Duchin, Red Skelton, Xavier Cugat, The Inkspots, Vaughn Monroe, Montana Slim, Ricardo Cortez, Les Brown, and many more.
The Ritz Theatre, most modern and luxurious in the Hudson Valley, will have its premiere tomorrow night at 7. Behind that simple declarative statement lays this miracle: Eugene Levy, Newburgh theatre owner, recently bought the old George Cohen Theatre on Broadway, and converted that playhouse of a gaudier era into an institution where cinematic and variety productions of the highest standard can be presented with amazing skill, and affording the fascinated beholder the ultimate in comfort and convenience.
—The Newburgh News (November 28, 1933)
During this vibrant time, New York City’s Paramount Theater regularly brought shows to the Ritz Theater to “test” them on Newburgh audiences before they debuted at the Paramount. Rumor has it that a sign posted backstage at the Paramount warned “If you think this audience is tough, try Newburgh.”