Theater Latté Da hopes to buy Ritz Theater in northeast Minneapolis


Graydon Royce, Star Tribune

Theater Latté Da, one of the Twin Cities’ most prominent stage companies, may finally get a permanent home at the Ritz Theater in northeast Minneapolis.

Company leaders say Latté Da has entered into an “exclusive negotiating arrangement” with the Ritz Foundation, which owns the 245-seat theater at 345 13th Av. NE.

“We announced publicly for the first time at our annual gala [on Saturday] that we hope to acquire the Ritz,” said artistic director Peter Rothstein. “Our loyal fans and donors stepped up and showed tremendous support. They clearly love the idea of us being at the Ritz.”

Although Latté Da has experienced the largest growth of any Twin Cities theater company in the past decade, it has not had a permanent home since it left the Loring Playhouse in 2006.

Latté Da has been renting office space at the Ritz for the past two years and has presented a number of shows there — including last fall’s hit “Sweeney Todd” and the upcoming new musical “C.,” based on the play “Cyrano de Bergerac” and opening April 2.

Located in the heart of the northeast Minneapolis arts district, the Ritz underwent a $2.2 million renovation in 2006, with the Ballet of the Dolls dance troupe as the principal tenant. However, the company is on hiatus and founder Myron Johnson has worked with the James Sewell Ballet.

Despite the ballet company’s troubles, the theater has continued as a venue for dance and theater. Frank Theatre recently produced on the main stage, two performance spaces were used last summer during the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and Latté Da produced another new musical there in January.

In 2014, Michael Rainville, chairman of the Ritz Theater Foundation, said the building was assessed at $1.1 million. It was built as a movie house in 1928 and was retrofitted with a large stage in 1971 by the Cricket Theatre. The building was neglected for several decades before the Dolls spearheaded the rehab project.