Capitol Theatre

43 Bank Street,
New London, CT 06320

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DonaldKirk on October 12, 2015 at 7:46 am

DonaldKirk on October 12, 2015 at 7:25 am

I have now put a GoFundMe online to raise the money to purchase the Capitol from current owners. When I talked to one a few months ago he stated $200,000.00, but asked what I’d offer. Lets get some decent funds, then recontact him. Thanks!

DonaldKirk on July 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

If anyone in the area is interested in raising money to acquire the Capitol, a lot of the restoration costs could be eliminated using volunteers for much of the work; and donated materials. Just buying and replacing the seats alone will cost $1.75 million. This is about ½ the cost Mr. Kwan thinks the total restoration can be done for. I produce concerts and festivals; and with local volunteer help, hold fundraisers that will raise big $’s (I have the best Jimi Hendrix or John Fogerty impersonators; and some 1960’s recording groups working for me). They often will do a show for the large tax write-off they get. If interested, get your friends involved and then contact my production company.

DonaldKirk on April 13, 2013 at 10:59 am

I was recently contacted by one of the current owners, asking me to purchase the Capitol. I told him that for it’s condition he was asking way too much. He then asked for a counter-offer; which after discussing it with several people in the know of it’s condition, I told him $0.00. I have a number of fairly recent pictures of it’s interior; plus knowing that it has a small stage, which cannot host Broadway type shows, I felt it is too far gone. Some of us estimated $12 – $15 million restoration cost. Mr. Kwan could not see that much; but he was fuguring costs to make it useable as something else (4 walls); and he estimated a fraction of what it’d cost to make it back into a 1730 seat live-stage “Grand” theatre.

Sorry folks, but it is highly unlikely that the Capitol will ever be restored as a grand theatre.

DonaldKirk on June 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Again the Capitol is up for sale (June 2012). I’m International Media Manager for an international humanitarian & entertainment nonprofit.

In 2005 we tried to buy the Capitol; and the Garde blocked the sale, by saying (to a CA property owner) they wanted to buy the building and land of a theatre we just opened in Dunsmuir, CA.

Learning that the Capitol is again for sale, I have contacted my boss to see if funds are available for us to finally acquire the Capitol.

There are a few major problems that would have to be adressed 1) Asbestos 2) Back Entrance 3) restoring artwork 4) any roof repair work the city didn’t do 5) adding 1 or 2 elevators, plus electrical, plumbing, ADA Restrooms, etc. I cannot find any pictures of it with a marquee. I did have interior pic’s the city sent; but they were wiped out when my hard-drive crashed. I’m in Medford, Oregon at the moment; but we have an assistant to the CEO near New London. If my boss allows us to get the Capitol, we’ll need a lot of volunteers to help get the place in shape. If we don’t, it will cost a few $ million more than we probably can come up with. A lot of the high cost, is high dollar paid construction labor. We will gladly give regular volunteers some free admissions to events at the Capitol (again, we have to get it first). my emil is If anyone has any of those interior pic’s (when in use, or in need of restoration), please forward them to me. Thanks! Don

rokcomx on June 3, 2012 at 5:15 am

During its final six months until it closed after the summer 1974 season, the Capitol showed X-rated features at night, G-rated kiddie matinees on weekends, and even hosted several rock concerts, including Delaney & Bonnie. This made for some surreal advertising blocks in the local New London Day newspaper!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 3, 2012 at 5:11 am

This 2010 article in The Day gave the name of the architect of the Capitol Theatre as W. H. Lowe. I’ve been unable to find anything about Connecticut architects named either W. H. Lowe or W. H. Lane on the Internet, but I suspect that the author of the article got the name right.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 12, 2011 at 4:02 am

The 2002 article about the Capitol Theatre published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to which I linked a few years ago, has been relocated this link. It has two photos, neither of which can be enlarged, unfortunately.

Dismal news about the Capitol appeared in this newspaper article published on January 26, 2011. The company which bought the theater from the City of New London for one dollar in 2006 not only failed to carry out the promised renovations, but has lost the building due to non-payment of taxes. The Capitol has been sold at auction to a New York City developer whose intentions are unknown.

nickelodeon on July 20, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Growing up in the area, I attended the Capitol to see movies as a youth. My first recollection was Its A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I remember entering the lobby, going up marble steps with brass railings. When Jimmy Durante crashed and kicked the bucket it scared my little brother who was 3 or 4 and he started crying. He wouldn’t stop and my mother (unlike anyone today) gathered us up and took us home. Social courtesy at one’s expense. Can you imagine? Another memory I have is going to see Mark of the Devil in the early ‘70s in my early teens. Ushers handed out vomit bags, which really worried me (I STILL have mine!) because I thought it would be horrible and I didnt want to throw up! Glad to say it went unused. I recall a few people running out during the movie. Grossing audiences out is now de rigueur, sorry to say. It wasnt too long after this the Capitol closed down.
I always go by the theater when Im back in New London. Bank St. and State St. are loaded with history. Many theaters have been there the last century and more.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on February 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Article in today’s paper View link

bcnett on October 3, 2007 at 3:43 pm

That organ, now in the Jane Pickens Theatre in Newport, is the only one remaining in a theatre with a Symphonic Registrator (40 combinations labelled by the mood they are intended to accompany in a silent movie, such as Love, Mysterious, Children, etc. It works wonderfully when accompanying a picture.

That organ is now unplayable, but the new theatre owner is interested in having it restored.

rlevin on September 22, 2007 at 9:09 pm

Some 30 odd years ago I toured the interior of the Ca[ital with the dream of creating what the Garde has become. It would have made a better choice of venue. However even then the restoratiom costs would have been signifacantly more then the Garde.
When I toured the building there was significant water damage from a leaky roof. Plaster damage on one wall was evident.
All the deats on the main level would need to be replaced, but the balcony was in great shape. The balcony had not been in use for years before the place closed. The “private” boxes on the balcony level had no seats.
The projection booth still had its equipment. There were even spools of adult films there. The lobby concession still had popcorn in them.
The decor of the building outshines the Garde. In its day it was a jewel among theaters. Restoration today would run in the millions. Heatin, ac plumbing, electric service, sound, lighting, new seating God knows what else would make it almost impossible. I hope I’m wrong I would love to see it restored. Maybe someone could convince the Pequots that it would be a good idea.

AntonyRoma on December 11, 2006 at 4:48 am

I look forward to seeing it as well.

But the developer has already missed a number of deadlines promised in negotiations and agreements with the cityfor the $2.5M renoavation. Missed dates include start demolition of the interior, remediation of the asbestos within 30 days of transfer, and the purchase of the windows mentioned above by Evan. It was sold for $1 plus tax abatements. See <<>> for more details. The article includes a picture of its very ornate boxes, walls, and ceilings.

Shalom, ciao, and excelsior

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 8, 2006 at 5:36 pm

I can’t wait to see this one when it reopens!

brynulf06 on October 13, 2006 at 2:38 am

The Theater is now getting new windows that were specially designed for the theater. The first phases of the face lift are will be completed by the end of the year. The theater will feature probably less than 1500 seats, recording studios, internet studios (for videos , concert feeds etc…) and could become the focal point of Bank Street.


AntonyRoma on September 28, 2006 at 5:36 pm

Vacant since 1974, the vaudeville venue-turned-movie theater was sold by the City of New London in July to Plainfield, N.J.-based Maxim Development Group LLC. Maxim principals Salvatore Carfaro Jr. and Patrick Gawrysiak plan a two-year, $2.5 million renovation of the building into a live-music venue. Renovation has begun with restoration of the facade.

No other details or schedule have been released.

The page mentioned above by Joe Vogel, View link has a good picture of its exterior as well as the interior, and good background information.

Shalom, ciao, and excelsior

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on May 5, 2006 at 12:47 am

It is supposedly going to reopen as a 1500 seat live concert venue in 2008.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 4, 2006 at 5:19 pm

This page at the web site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation has an article from 2002 which features a picture showing the water damage in the auditorium of the Capitol Theatre.

SpikeSpiegel6262044 on May 4, 2006 at 3:35 pm

I saw on Channel 3 that it is going to be renovated. Yay!

SpikeSpiegel6262044 on March 18, 2006 at 6:32 am

The National Trust Website says that it seated 2,500 and that it was Neo-Classical. She has some water damage too. I googled Capitol Theatre New London and I found one picture of the inside, I saw something that looked like balconies, it looks like she needs a lot of work.

DonHirsch on February 21, 2006 at 4:39 am

Does anyone know who owns the theatre?

Who is behind the R&R restoration?

I’d like to get in touch.

Its a beautiful theatre and it would be great to see it serving the community once again.

mikeyt on February 18, 2006 at 5:38 am

This is reputed to be the place George Burns met Gracie Allen while they performed Vaudeville. New plans have surfaced for restoration as a performing Rock and Roll theater in the last month.

bcnett on February 15, 2006 at 4:36 pm

The organ from this theatre is now in the Jane Pickens Theatre in Newport, RI, where I was House Organist for 10 years.

SpikeSpiegel6262044 on January 31, 2006 at 5:47 pm

That would be such a nice idea.
Is this the theater with the best acoustics or is that the Garde?