Capitol Theatre

1001 Public Square,
Benton, IL 62812

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The Capitol Theatre was located on Public Square, off Main Street, in Benton. In the 1951 Film Daily Yearbook, it is listed as open with seating for 1160 and operated as part of the Fox Midwest Amusement Corporation. A park is located today where the Capitol Theatre formerly stood.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 22, 2005 at 10:43 pm

The following link has a photo of two actors with this text above the photo:
(Performed at the Old Capitol Theatre on the public square in Benton, IL)

That might lead you to believe that the Capitol was still operating in 1978 as a live theater. Not exactly. The following text is from the Pyramid Players which the two people in the photo were a part of in 1978.

“The first production, Godspell, was performed in the Benton High School cafeteria to a total audience of 150. The next year, 1978, the group was able to perform in an abandoned church/movie theatre on the public square of Benton. The building was in a bad state of disrepair and offered no relief from the heat.

The next summer, the group was allowed to move their production to the superb theatre facility of Rend Lake College in Ina, IL. This facility provided not only a beautiful, air-conditioned theatre, but also was centrally located within the Rend Lake College district. This enabled the Players to draw from a much larger audience pool".

It appears that this theater became a Church when the Capitol theater closed and at some point the Church moved out and the building was abandoned. Thats all I could find on this theater for now.

kencmcintyre on August 24, 2008 at 5:32 am

This 11/30/05 article discusses the purchase of the Capitol’s former location by the city:

SATB59 on September 19, 2008 at 5:34 am

I am the director/founder of the Pyramid Players Theatre Troup that did indeed perform in the Historic Capitol Theatre during the summer of 1978. It was a church before we gained access to it. I attended movies there as a child (Disney classics, etc.) It was truly a gem of a theatre and I miss her everytime I go up to the public square. The Capitol Park (a small park with a Pavilion Stage) now stands where the Capitol stood. Benton, IL is also the home to actor John Malkovich (his family still runs the local newspaper.) Also, home to Louise Harrison, sister of Beatle George Harrison. He came here the summer BEFORE they played the Sullivan Show and became famous. The first Beatle recording ever played in the U.S. was broadcast on radio station WFRX in West Frankfort, IL (7 miles to the south of Benton.)

The Pyramid Players are still performing annual summer seasons at the Rend Lake College Theatre in Ina, IL.

Come visit us sometime…quite an historic little town.

B Summers

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 18, 2008 at 5:58 am

The February 2, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine reported that the Capitol Theatre in Benton had suffered heavy smoke and water damage during a conflagration which destroyed an adjacent four story building which contained, among other things, the theater manager’s office. The Capitol’s electric sign (whether this was a vertical sign or the name sign on the marquee is not specified) was also destroyed. Flames were prevented from entering the auditorium by what the article calls “a stout firewall.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm

The Google Maps pin icon is near the southwest corner of the square, but the article Ken linked to on August 23, 2008, says that the Capitol Theatre was at the southeast corner of the square. The band shell the article mentions has now been built on part of the theater’s site, and can be seen in Google Street View.

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