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I recently became the “Director of Capri Theater Development” … hired by the Plymouth Christian Youth Center, owner of the Capri. As we begin planning for a major renovation of the Capri, we are seeking photos of the theater, inside and out. We have only two photos in our possession of the theater prior to 1980. You can contact me at
Thanks to the University of Minnesotaâ€™s Northwest Architectural Archives, we are able to piece together more details about the history of the Capri Theater. Among the papers of the Liebenberg and Kaplan collection: the 1925 ink on linen blueprints for the â€œHerman Jeub Store & Theater Building, Oliver & West Broadway.â€
Eleven linen sheets (20â€ by 24â€) outline the plans for this building created by Henry Orth and Charles Buechner â€¦ architects who in the 1920s designed a number of theater, retail and government buildings in the Upper Midwest.
In 1932 the theater was remodeled by Jack Liebenberg, Liebenberg and Kaplan, Architects, and Liebenberg designed the marquee for the Paradise Theater. The giant sheet metal marquee on West Broadway was designed to have 837 light bulbs â€¦ 21,700 watts total! The letters spelling out the name Paradise used 101 of those bulbs.
The theater has more than 500 seats, and in one variation of the plan second floor offices were to be removed to accommodate a balcony with more than 100 seats. The restrooms were also upstairs, with a larger â€œpowder roomâ€ for the ladies.
The next major renovation occurred in 1965 â€¦ when Liebenberg & Kaplan moved the lobby to the corner of the building at Oliver and West Broadway. There are many sketches of marquees with an updated â€œParadiseâ€ sign â€¦ and among those sketches is one with the name â€œCapriâ€ as it currently exists on the marquee. It appears that the name was changed during the process to move the marquee to its new location on the building.
The retail space was removed from the first floor, and the lobby was expanded â€¦ including a large concession area, mirrored walls and a large light fixture hanging from the lobby ceiling. Inside the theater the orchestra pit was filled in, and the final seating configuration settled at 507 seats.
The next major renovation of the Capri was in 1993 â€¦ when PCYC transformed the building into the â€œCapri Arts & Learning Center.â€ Jafvert, Mueller Architects, Inc., modified the second floor for use as classrooms, including the balcony. The main floor of the theater was also reduced in size to accommodate a dance room. At this time the windows on the second floor were replaced. The windows on the first floor were replaced in 2006.