The Ritz Theater located at 10 West Main in downtown Shawnee was originally built as a dry goods store c. 1897. That same year, the building was expanded to its current 40 ft. width and was on the circuit of the state's vaudeville shows. As a theater, it was first called The Cozy, with the name being changed to The Ritz in 1926.
Shawnee's first talking movie was shown at the Ritz and renovations in those early days included an organ to accompany the silent movies. Admission was 5 cents.
A concession stand was operated out of the left corner of the building, with sales windows in the lobby and also on the street.
Operations ceased in 1987. In 1997 the family donated the building to the town to assist in preserving its history. The theater is currently operated on an occasional basis by SRDS, Inc. who are restoring the theater and curretly offering local and regional entertainment. SRDS is a member of the League of American Historical Theaters and the Ritz is officially one of their Save America's Theaters projects. ]