Saturday, September 24, 2011

Capitol City Theater, 211 state St., Madison, WI

 Seating capacity 2260

On January 21, 1928, the Capitol Theatre opened its doors on State Street. Designed by the renowned Chicago firm of Rapp & Rapp, the Capitol was a marvelous example of the type of opulent movie houses that were built back in the silent film age. The theater's decor had a Moorish/Spanish theme.
Capitol City Theater 1929

It opened with the movie "Her Wild Oats" starring Colleen Moore plus vaudeville acts. Uniformed ushers escorted moviegoers to their seats to watch features starring luminaries such as Harold Lloyd and Maurice Chevalier, as well as vaudeville acts like Mae West and Al Jolson. The state-of-the-art building boasted the latest in modern conveniences and, perhaps most wonderful, a Grand Barton theater organ constructed by the Barton Musical Instrument Company of Oshkosh.
Capitol City Theater 1932

It was operated by Warner Bros. and later by RKO-Stanley Warner who sold it to the City of Madison for $650,000 in July 1974. It was equipped with the latest in theater technology and was renamed the Oscar Mayer Theatre.
The Capitol Theater was part of extensive construction and renovation on the 200 block of State Street. Equipped with the latest in theater technology and renamed the Oscar Mayer Theatre, it was the main venue in a complex that also included the smaller Isthmus Playhouse, meeting rooms, and a Crossroads lobby connecting the performing arts venues with the Madison Art Museum under the same roof. (Overture Center For The arts)

Once upon a time, Capitol Theater was a hot spot for music and movies in Madison. From the early 60s until it became part of the Madison Civic Center in 1980, Herb Frank kept the joint rockin’ with touring acts like the Beach Boys as well as contemporary films.

As of 2008, the Capitol Theater returned to its original name.
Significant historic features remain, including the Grand Barton Organ, the ornate ceiling, and the proscenium arch.  A spacious new lobby, stunning original architectural details, glittering chandeliers, and ornate wall sconces create an unforgettable theater environment. 
The theater continues to house the original Grand Barton Theatre Organ built in 1927.

Jerry performed here on
4/20/75 Legion Of Mary

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