About The Capitol Theatre
BOX OFFICE: (315) 337-6453
The Capitol Theatre
220 W. Dominick St., Rome, NY, 13440
The History of the Capitol:
construction of the Capitol was the conception of the Kallet Brothers
(Myron J. and Joseph S.) who were involved in motion picture
management in Rome as far back as 1920 with their acquisition of the
Theater at 114 E. Dominick St., which they renovated and re-named The
Theater. In 1922, the Kallets purchased the Star Theatre on N.
James St., and planned to demolish the block in 1926 to erect a new
movie theater much larger in capacity. These plans ultimately
fell through, but with the
assistance of M. E. Comerford of the Comerford Amusement Co. movie theater chain, the Kallets procured the property at 216-224
Dominick St. in 1927 and, in February and March of 1928, the site was cleared
construction was begun on the new Capitol Theatre—a
2,000-seat edifice which
was to become Rome’s first run movie house. (With the seating
the orchestra section in the 1950s, and some seat removal in
the ‘80s to
accommodate handicapped patrons, the house now seats 1,788.)
What visitors to the Capitol saw during the theater's first decade has dramatically changed since. Originally designed with a Spanish-Moroccan theme, the interior of the Capitol was painted in tones of terra-cotta, brown, gold, blues and red. The lighting system, including the theater's trademark octagonal dome, was on a three-color lighting system that could be controlled by projection booth or on stage in combinations of red, yellow and blue light. Bejeweled lighting fixtures flanked the ceiling and walls, while the mezzanine foyer was decorated with mirrored fixtures with lighting effects that gave one the feeling of being on a Spanish patio in Old Spain.
Theater styles changed rapidly over the next decade. In 1939, a
mere 11 years later, Capitol
modernistic face-lift that is preserved to this day. The
plasterwork stayed the same, but new paintwork in modernistic
geometric designs in hues of yellow, green, orange, red, gold and
silver flank the Capitol walls and ceiling. Modernistic lighting
fixtures, made by the Moe Bridges Lighting Co. of Milwaukee, WI,
replaced the original sconces and channdeliers, and are still lit to
this day. A green and gold herringbone patterened wall fabric
lined the walls of the auditorium and mezzanine. For the mezzanine
foyer, chairs and sofas were created especially for the Capitol by
famed furniture-maker Warren McArthur.
With high overhead costs cited as the culprit, the Capitol closed as a first-run movie house on May 28, 1974 (the final attraction was The Exorcist). The theater was leased by the Cinema National movie theater chain until February of 1989, not for exhibition, but simply to keep the house from providing competition with that chain’s multiplex on the other end of town.
Over the next eleven years the Capitol was used occasionally for live events, and in the 1980s a movement gained momentum to acquire the Capitol for use as a performing arts center. The dream of a dedicated group of individuals became a reality in 1985 and the newly christened “Capitol Civic Center” opened as a not-for-profit corporation on December 10 of that year—the 57th anniversary of the original grand opening. One of the most anticipated events in Rome for years, the new opening night featured a screening of the very film that originally opened the Capitol—Lilac Time, this time accompanied by the Rick Montalbano trio.
taking full advantage of its full-sized stage and orchestra pit, the
Capitol offered a wide variety of touring and locally produced
events. In 1989 the
Capitol’s own SummerStage
debuted with Annie!—a series of live
theatrical productions which
continues to this day.
In 2003 the Capitol’s original Möller theatre organ was put back into working order and the following year a series of silent films with organ accompaniment was initiated. Since that time world-renown silent movie musicians such as Dr. Philip C. Carli, Avery Tunningley, Bernie Anderson, Dennis James, and Robert Israel have accompanied movies from the console. The Capitol’s 1952 projectors continue to serve their purpose well, and since 2007 a pair of mint-condition, water-cooled 1965 Ashcraft carbon arc lamps have taken their place in the booth—helping to make the Capitol a prime destination for classic movie lovers.
Today there are over 100 performances per year at the Capitol—everything from the continuing live theatrical performances of SummerStage to world famous big bands such as Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and Tommy Dorsey, dance programs, and classic silent and talking films, including the August Capitolfest film festival. The theater now attracts patrons not only from Upstate New York, but from all over the world. Downtown Rome’s gem since 1928, the revitalized Capitol Theatre promises to entertain and enlighten the public for many years to come.
of the features of the Capitol currently include:
Board of Directors
Rob Tracy, President
Mary Wahl, Vice President
Victoria Stockton, Secretary
Doug Swarthout, Treasurer
Michael Brown, Fred Normand, Maria Rich, Joelle Taylor, Crystal Sicilia Gail Tucker, Ray Tucker.
Arthur Pierce, Executive Director
Kylie Pierce, Development Director
Andy DeAngelo, Publicity Manager
Julie Whittemore, Executive Assistant
Jonathon Walda, Administrative Assistant
Joe Borasky, Facilities Manager
Kallie T. Cat, Mouse Exterminator
Contributions from our Friends are crucial to our existence as they help us present the best in music, movies, theatre, and dance. Our generous donors also allow us to offer reduced-price performances and programs to Central New York’s students, the future of our region. Make the arts come alive—become a Capitol Friend today!
As a friend of the Capitol, you will receive a “Friend Card” entitling you to discounts on most of our fine programming!
Contribution Levels: Any contributions you would ike to make will be happily accepted; these are some of the “named” levels we offer for your convenience:
One-time contributions as well as convenient monthly and quarterly giving plans are available.
For additional details, contact the Capitol Theatre at (315) 337-6277.
Gallery of Historic Photographs
(click on thumbnail to enlarge)
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