On Thu., Sept. 1, 2011, the Ridglea Theater will celebrate its grand re-opening. In the meantime, new owner Jerry Shults and his team will be remodeling the 1940s-era building to near its original condition, including restoring the terrazzo tile floor, restoring the upstairs balcony, returning the stage to its original position, installing a new “state-of-the-art” sound system, creating a 2,000-plus-square-foot green room, and restoring the 30-foot-high Spanish Conquistador murals. The 2,000-plus-capacity space’s current occupants, Wesley Hathaway and Richard Van Zandt, will relinquish control in March. Helming the theater’s entertainment and operations department will be Fort Worth’s Casey Mack, who studied under Fort Worth impresario Rick Smith in the early 2000s. (Smith passed away in 2004.) Mack worked on Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic (2004, 2005), more than 20 live album recordings, including Jack Ingram’s (2003), and albums by the Randy Rogers Band, Stoney LaRue, and Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers. Mack also was part of Chef Tim Love’s management team and was a marketing agent for the White Elephant Saloon, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Johnny Cooper, and the Tejas Brothers. In a statement, Mack said he wants to make the Ridglea “one of the classiest entertainment venues in the nation, with Grammy-level talent.” Mack also believes that the West Side has been “entertainment-starved for quite some time.” The Ridglea will present “a direct alternative,” even though he admits that “many great bars exist in Fort Worth to see up-and-coming Texas-based … talent.” But now “the best artists in American music will be playing in a historic theater in our own backyard, in what is the epicenter of the trendiest part of Fort Worth,” he said. “Get ready West-o-Plex. Your long drives and expensive nights in Dallas for nightly entertainment are over.”
For a taste of future sounds, Mack said, “Imagine a cross of a Bill Graham-run Fillmore, a trendy urban cocktail lounge, a celebrity chef-influenced 5-star concert-dining experience, and the world-class Fort Worth charm and sophistication that makes our city and its people stand apart from the rest.”
The re-opening lineup will be announced in April.