Capitol Theater Enjoying Success
By Carl Wagenfohr
Photo by Carl Wagenfohr.
CLEARWATER - It's been nearly 1 year since Ruth Eckerd Hall began staging performances at the downtown Capitol Theater, owned by the City of Clearwater since 2008.
From the auspicious start in March 2009, when the Todd Rundgren performance had to be moved outdoors because mold had been discovered inside, the Capitol Theater has been averaging two-to-three shows per month according the Robert Freedman, President and CEO of Ruth Eckerd Hall.
The 430-seat facility has been filling a market niche for acts that can't quite fill the 2,000-seat Ruth Eckerd Hall, providing a stage for both up-and-comers and performers in the twilight of their careers.
One such act was the sold-out January 16th performance of Richie Havens, the opening act of the 1969 Woodstock Festival who still draws a loyal following. The Capitol's intimate setting encouraged interaction between Havens and his fans, including song requests and Havens himself borrowing reading glasses and a pen from a front row audience member to write the lyrics he would sing to accompany his accompanist, Walter Parks.
Ruth Eckerd Hall has undertaken a fund-raising drive to establish a $15-million endowment for continued theater operations and renovation, which Freedman hopes to begin in early 2011 and take about one year.
Freedman said, "We're very excited about the opportunity we have at the Capitol. We thought that once we created the space and put some good shows in there, people would come." They have.
Woodstock fans will have another opportunity to relive that era when Arlo Guthrie performs at the Capitol on March 16th. Tickets are still available.
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