Live music to return to a storied theater

posted by Michael Zoldessy on January 9, 2012 at 7:49 am

PORT CHESTER, NY — One of rock and roll’s most illustrious venues will soon breathe new life, as music entrepreneur Peter Shapiro has announced plans to reopen the historic Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, for live performances by some of the biggest names in music.

In its distinguished history, the 1,835-capacity theatre has hosted concerts by the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Derek The Dominos, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, David Bowie, Santana, and many more. With state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment in-house, and bookings by Shapiro, in partnership with concert promoter The Bowery Presents, the 85-year-old theatre is poised to emerge as the East Coast’s premier concert destination. Current plans have the Theatre re-opening in mid-2012.

“The Capitol Theatre is a rock and roll icon and we are going to treat her as such,” says Shapiro. “We are going to spoil her and give her the best of everything – the best sound, the best lights, and the best video projection technology of any theatre anywhere. Our plan is to turn the knob to 11 in every way possible.”

Designed by celebrated architect Thomas Lamb in 1926 and listed in The National Register of Historic Places, the theatre is located just 22 miles from NYC, conveniently accessible by I-95 and only one block from the Port Chester Metro North train station (36 minutes from Grand Central). Beneath a 65-foot domed ceiling, the concert hall features a general admission floor, a seated balcony including VIP seats, and six presidential box suites.

Though it fell out of regular use by the 1980’s, Marvin Ravikoff purchased the theatre in 1983, beautifully restoring the interior as a top location for occasional private events and performances. Shapiro, who’s been described by The New York Times as being “in the best image of the legendary rock impresario Bill Graham,” has signed a long-term lease to take over operations of the theatre from Ravikoff.

“I’m thrilled to pass the operation of this historic gem on to Peter and his team,” says Ravikoff. “The Capitol Theatre is a national landmark and it is one of Thomas Lamb’s finest achievements. I’m pleased the theatre is in the hands of people who care about it as much as I do.”

Joining Shapiro is General Manager Tom Bailey, who spent the past six years running The Blue Note in Manhattan, on top of a distinguished resume of venues including San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium and The Warfield Theatre during his 16 years with Bill Graham Presents. “I’ve worked in some beautiful and historic concert venues, but this room is as close as I’ve seen to perfect,” Bailey says of The Capitol Theatre. “It has amazing acoustics and sightlines, can be easily reached by anyone on the East Coast, and with our planned renovations, it will be the ideal place to experience live performances.”

The Village of Port Chester stands to benefit greatly from the re-opening as well. Mayor Dennis G. Pilla says of the Capitol Theatre: “This is a home run for Port Chester. Bringing the Capitol Theater back as a top concert destination will help to achieve our strategic goals, to build on our strong restaurant row and to further accentuate the rich cultural and artistic presence that exists in the Village.”

Jon Dindas is the venue’s Production Manager. Brooklyn Bowl interior designer Tristam Steinberg is consulting on the Capitol Theatre’s overall interior design and Chris Ragan of BML Blackbird is designing stage lighting; Rick Arnstein of Team Arnstein will handle partnerships and sponsorships, and Learned Evolution is leading marketing efforts. Port Chester’s Edgewater Group Architects is the architectural lead, and Scott Raved will manage construction and renovation projects. Shapiro was represented in the transaction by Ian Lester, Esq. of David J. Bleckner, P.C., a real estate law firm located in New York City, and Anthony Tirone, Esq. of Port Chester. Shapiro and Ravikoff were introduced by local music fan Stefanie Lacoff Jampole, and real estate broker Bernard Stachel. Financial services were provided by Cadenza Creative Services and Torella Associates.

Anthony Makes will lead booking efforts for The Bowery Presents, in conjunction with Shapiro, to book top acts representing all genres in music.

“Since spending Thanksgiving weekend 1992 at the theatre with Phish, I’ve dreamed of promoting at The Cap' one day,” says John Moore, partner at The Bowery Presents. “We are excited to partner with Peter on the reopening and introduce a new generation of talented performers to its legendary stage, as well as reacquaint some of the biggest names in music with the house. We look forward to creating memorable concert experiences and reestablishing Port Chester as a destination for music lovers.”

From his original venue, Wetlands—which hosted the first NYC performances by the likes of Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, and Oasis—to his award-winning film, ‘U2 3D,’ and other lauded music ventures including Relix Maganize, the Jammy Awards, and the Green Apple Festival, Shapiro has developed a reputation of the highest caliber as a venue owner and music entrepreneur. His latest venture, with partner Charley Ryan, is Brooklyn Bowl, a 20,000+ square foot live music venue/bowling alley described by Rolling Stone as “one of the greatest places on Earth.” The 2010-11 and 2011-12 editions of Zagat’s rate Brooklyn Bowl as both the #1 music venue and #1 bowling alley in NYC. The Producers Guild of America has named Shapiro “one of the Top 25 Innovators in the Entertainment Industry.”

Stay tuned for more about The Capitol Theatre and the first concert announcements.

The Capitol Theatre on the Web:

The Capitol Theatre on Facebook:

The Capitol Theatre on Twitter: @CapitolTheatre

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