Capitol Theatre Celebrates Centennial with Gala Saturday

Justin Bibb to attend, former Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone to be honored.

Capitol! Capitol! - @CapitolW65th
Capitol! Capitol!

The Capitol Theatre will celebrate its centennial Saturday evening with a gala that honors local leaders who helped re-open the historic venue and raises funds for what organizers hope will be another century of operation.

The three-screen venue in the Gordon Square Arts District is now owned by Northwest Neighborhoods, formerly the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, and operated by Cleveland Cinemas. It is the last remaining movie theater on Cleveland's west side.

Originally opened in 1921, the Capitol fell into disrepair in the 1980s and was closed for decades. In 2009, the theater re-opened after a top-to-bottom restoration and a $30 million capital campaign. (Anyone who sees a movie at the Capitol can learn this history via a 30-second video that screens before every feature.) 

Like other venues both large and small, the Capitol closed in 2020 for the Covid-19 pandemic. It depleted its reserve funds as it earned no revenue for nearly 17 months.

“After COVID-19 shuttered the Capitol before its 100th birthday, hundreds of community members made donations to help us reopen our beloved theatre, said Adam Stalder, Executive Director of Northwest Neighborhoods, in a press release. “The Centennial Celebration will be the culmination of that grassroots campaign to protect this historic gem.”

Indeed, residents chipped in roughly $20,000 during the dark days to keep the Capitol's lights on, which precipitated additional fundraising to pay for the theater's ongoing technology and infrastructure needs. Ward 15 councilperson Jenny Spencer and Huntington Bank's Carrie Carpenter (former Executive Director of the Gordon Square Arts District) co-chair a dedicated fundraising committee, which will be announcing some big-ticket contributions at the gala. 

Tickets for the event Saturday are $150, but young professionals and others can attend the late-night portion of the festivities (after 9:30 p.m.) for only $25. Attendees can expect  "dance music, libations, and locally made appetizers" in the Capitol and under a tent on W. 65th Street, plus an official program that honors former councilman Matt Zone for his contributions toward the Capitol and the Gordon Square Arts District.

Mayor Justin Bibb is said to be making a cameo.

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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