History of the Paul G.Reitz Theater
The new church at 36 Scribner Avenue constructed of handmade bricks from a brickyard is dedicated as
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church.
A devastating downtown fire leaves the church unscathed, one of the few structures left in DuBois.
Cultural Resources, Inc. (CRI), a nucleus representing professional, educational, business, and other segments of the community, elects its first officers: Ben Simpson (president), David Wilshire (vice-president), Jackie Syktich (secretary), and Mary Reay Scherer (treasurer).
With only $300 in the bank and a dream, CRI's Board of Directors negotiates a contract to purchase the Cornerstone Church and parsonage. The deposit? $1.00. Renovations begin.
The stage is built and the first performance in the theater "Steel Magnolias" is presented.
Stage lighting and a control booth are added.
Dedication ceremonies are held naming the structure "The Paul G. Reitz Theater" in honor of DuBois businessman and philanthropist Paul Reitz.
Seats purchased from the old Harris Theater in the Pershing Hotel building are reupholstered and brass plates are attached with the donor's names installed. New carpeting completes the picture.
The Cornerstone Church congregation relocates. For the first time, the Reitz is not a Theater/Church.
"Showcase of Stars," only one of several benefit performances to raise funds for the theater is produced. Among the many talented stars is Shawn Daly, who returned in May, 1998 for a concert at completion of the project.
DuBois Community Theater (DCT) changes its name and status to become the Reitz Theater Players (RTP). Members include anyone who has participated in a show, on-stage or back-stage, including actors, front of house staff, stage managers, set designers, builders, technical crew, seamstresses, properties crews and other skilled volunteers.
With a surge of new talent and popular shows, the Reitz Theater Players reach new audiences and a sharp rise in attendance at season shows.
A new and soon to be imitated format of entertainment, "ReAct", is introduced to patrons and with it comes an influx of fresh talent to the Reitz stage. The ReAct format of one-acts and short plays allows for the first original material to be introduced to pleased patrons.
Through a critical connection of Reitz Theater Players and local film makers, the first film festival is shown at the Reitz. The seeds are planted for local filmmaking and acting opportunities.
The auditorium is renovated including painting, new flooring and carpeting.
A new HVAC system is installed with funding from the newly initiated Rising Star campaign. Scaffolding makes the setting of lights easier and safer. Work begins on moving the tech booth to the ground floor bringing accessibility and safety to tech crew.
Again thanks to the generosity of donors to the Rising Star Campaign, extensive backstage renovations were completed, including upgraded electrical, lighting, all new flooring, painting and renovations of the backstage bathrooms. The basement bathrooms, formerly used by patrons and having fallen into disrepair, have been completely renovated and now allow ample room for actors, crew and directors to meet and prepare before, during and after shows. Exterior motion lights allow a safer experience for actors and patrons. Annex restrooms have also been renovated with new energy efficient motion-activated lighting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the theater was closed to the public from March 2020 until late in the 2021 season, however due to the diligence of the board in running a financially responsible organization, the Reitz Theater has been able to survive. More renovations are planned for later in 2020 and 2021, including a storage building for storing furniture and set pieces, allowing larger items like wall pieces to be saved and reused from show-to-show. This new building will interface with the current building at stage level, allowing accessibility to the stage for performers, as well as for scenic items. A new $40,000 heating system replaces the antiquated steam boiler system, which will improve the comfort and efficiency of the theater. Through grant monies, auditorium carpeting is replaced, and a new platform and stairs system is acquired, as well as a state-of-the-art projection system, as well as a wireless headset intercom system, allowing greater communications between backstage and tech areas. Frozen Jr. is held in December of 2022, enjoying a new record of 9 sold-out shows, including a sensory friendly showing for special needs patrons.