Capitol Theatre

211 State Street,
Madison, WI 53703

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CAPITOL Theatre; Madison, Wisconsin.

The Capitol Theatre opened on 21st January 1928. It was first a Fox house, then later operated by RKO Stanley Warner.

In 1980 it became part of the Madison Civic Centre and was re-named Oscar Mayer theatre. It has now reverted back to its original name of ‘Capitol’.

Contributed by Graeme McBain

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

MiltonSmith on April 18, 2007 at 7:16 pm

I honestly don’t think it would have mattered. There really is nothing left of the Capitol Theatre anyhow. Heck, I had gone to the Civic Center for years before I found out that there was actually another theatre in that spot previous to it being the Civic Center! There was nothing to really indicate it was an old theatre, to be honest. I’ve not been in it since becoming the Overture but I’m guessing it looks even less so now.

MiltonSmith on May 3, 2008 at 9:34 pm

That’s really about all that’s left of the Capitol Theatre…the facade.

MiltonSmith on July 18, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Well, it sort of looks like an old theatre in the auditorium, but its not the old theatre. Its a new auditorium pretty much built to look like an old theatre based off the old theatre that was once there.

Its sad, but oh well, I guess it could have been worse, they could have gutted and gave it the bland look.

ruricius on March 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I’ve been carrying around about 15 of the original wall torch lights from the theatre for about 35 years now. In fact i just installed one today… still works (with a bit of WD40 to get the connections apart!). Ralph Mathisen UW ‘69, '73, '79

MiltonSmith on June 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I just saw this post. Ralph, is there any way you could post a picture of these wall torch lights? If not, could you e-mail me a pic?

LeslieB on January 24, 2014 at 11:28 am

In 1955, Ben Marcus bought the theatre. It had 2,250 seats. At that time, 2 stores occupied the first floor of the building. In 1956, he sold it to Stanley-Warner Theatres, which had been operating under a lease arrangement.

Trolleyguy on July 22, 2016 at 2:22 pm

The Capitol is currently undergoing an exterior refurbishment. Matching bricks have been located from demolition sites, and now the search is on for the blade marquee. It was supposedly put into storage in the 70s, but no one seems to know where. It would be a nice complement to the new sign on the Orpheum Theatre across the street.

DavidZornig on July 30, 2018 at 8:36 am

1939 photo added via Mike Mase Mason.

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