Capri Theater

22 Huntington Avenue,
Boston, MA 02116

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Toy Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in December 1914 as the Toy Theatre. Later renamed Copley Theatre. It became a movie theatre named the Capri Theater and was ’re-opened' in the 1960’s. Ran “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “La Dolce Vita” and a revival of “Modern Times”.

One peculiar thing was its staircase, which was donated by Isabella Stewart Gardner. The stairs had been used at the opening of Fenway Court, ripped out of there when the tapestry room was created around WW I, and installed in the theater.

Some of G.B. Shaw’s plays had their American premiere there. Next door was a lounge named ‘the Stage’.

Torn down for the exit ramps of the Mass Turnpike in 1962, when the ill-fated Capri name was moved to the Strand on Huntington Avenue.

Contributed by Boris

Recent comments (view all 48 comments)

MarkB
MarkB on July 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I just added a photo from the BPL archive. A one act G.B. Shaw play was being presented at the time.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm

The photo which MarkB posted shows the Toy Theatre on Dartmouth St., more or less across from the side of the Copley Plaza Hotel. This was before the house was reconstructed with its main entrance on Huntington Avenue, which was where, later, the entrance and marquee for the Capri were located. Sweetmel posts above that he wishes he could see a photo of the Capri before it “got seedy”. It never got seedy ! Right up until it was demolished, it was still in good condition. The entrance was directly across from the side of the Boston Public Library. dickneeds111 mentions the State Theatre on Washington St. (former T Trans Lux) I was inside it in July 1983 and it was not twinned, still a single-screen. Closed in 1985.

MarkB
MarkB on July 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Ron – thanks for that clarification. The entrance was at the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart sts. The entrance led back the full depth of that row of buildings to the theater proper, which was set back quite a bit from Dartmouth st.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Yes, the Copley/Capri was nowhere near Dartmouth Street. You walked in from Huntington Ave, to an inner foyer, and then turned right to enter the back of the auditorium. The left side of the auditorium and stage were on Stuart St. The original Toy Theater on Dartmouth Street was apparently jacked up and turned around and then reused for the Copley/Capri. I have never really understood what exactly was done to reuse the Toy Theatre. By the way, there was a real landmark building at the corner of Dartmouth Street and Huntington Avenue, the S.S. Pierce building. It was a handsome old heap and housed an upscale grocery and food shop. That building lasted at least as long as the Capri Theatre lasted.

MarkB
MarkB on July 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I looked in the Boston Globe archive, and found some info on the Toy. It was founded in 1911 on Lime st, between Mt Vernon and Chestnut, at the bottom of Beacon Hill in an old stable. There are photo of both the interior and exterior in two articles. It was an amateur theatrical group that put on plays that had not been professionally produced in Boston. In Jan, 1913, Mayor Curley censored the play “Across the Border” when he got complaints about cursing, although he allowed it to go on when he removed on line.

The new theatre was built in 1914, and got a big write-up as well. A 1937 article gets the move date wrong, but says the name changed to the Copley after the move, and was run by both Jewett and Clive. In 1937, it was refurbished as the Shubert Copley.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Yes, it was a Shubert house when I first knew it circa-1948 or so. It was the least-used of their Boston theaters. Dark most of the time, it presented both plays and films but very infrequently. So when Sack took it over and renamed it “Capri”, it was a real re-launch.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 16, 2012 at 9:20 am

$125,000 “upgrading” described in this 1960 trade report: boxoffice

rivest266
rivest266 on May 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

This opened an January 31st, 1958

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Opened as a cinema with the ‘Capri’ name, I assume you mean? As the comments and description show, this theatre had a long history before that.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Yeah, I attended a play there in 1953, and it was an old theater then, going back to the World War I era.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater