News Column

Capitol Theater mixing it up in 2014-15

June 22, 2014

By Craig T. Neises, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa

June 22--Moving into the third year since its transformation from derelict movie house to rejuvenated film and live performance venue, the Capitol Theater still is in search of just the right formula for success.

Whether things are dialed in any better remains to be seen, but the board member in charge of booking events is hopeful things are getting on the right track.

"My concept is to be rounded, to embrace as much as we can," said Terry Arellano, programming chairwoman.

Since the departure of Tina Salamone as executive director, board members are taking a more direct hand in operating the theater. Rather than build a season around contracted performers who may or may not sell well, the new approach will be centered on flexibility.

"We're feeling our way to really find out what the community wants." Terry Arellano, Capitol Theater board

And one other thing:

"Much of what we're doing is creating a calendar that is sustainable annually," Arellano said.

Local programming

In addition to outside bookings and an increased emphasis on film, local programming will be featured as well, with performances coming in 2014-15 from Players Workshop, Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Burlington High School and Southeastern Community College.

PW will present the historical play "In the Matter of Ralph" next weekend.

SEISO will perform five times at the Capitol in the next year, including all three classical concerts, as well as the annual Kidsymphony in November and in what Arellano described as a "Christmas extravaganza" in December.

BHS and SCC will continue to stage their spring musicals at the North Third Street theater.

In July, children ages 8 to 18 will be invited to participate in a weeklong theater camp that will conclude with campers staging a play.

Details of that event, as well as other upcoming shows, still are being finalized.

Outside acts

On Aug. 14, veteran opening act Scott Helmer, who has warmed up audiences for bands like Heart, 3 Doors Down and Big Country, will perform a fundraiser concert with all proceeds going to the Capitol. Helmer is playing a series of concerts this year to help community theaters, like the Capitol, raise money, Arellano said.

With his Support Your Cause tour, Helmer is criss-crossing the country this year and next, playing free gigs in a bid to take in a total of $1 million.

Coming in September will be a three-day blues event featuring music by the Jeremiah Johnson Band. The weekend starts Sept. 26 with a presentation by the National Blues Museum.

Johnson and band will perform their style of blues/rock in a Sept. 27 concert

A Sunday blues brunch will be offered Sept. 28, with proceeds being split between the Capitol and the museum, which is in St. Louis. JJB will play again at noon to wrap up the weekend.

Film will continue

Film at the Capitol will continue to be an important feature of the Capitol's calendar. Tuesdays will see independent film screenings. Each night, a short from the Snake Alley Festival of Film, which is set to return to the Capitol next June, will be shown prior to the featured title.

A best-of-the-fest event also is in the works to show top films from this month's third annual SNAFF, which is organized by Lonnie Schuyler, whose locally shot film, "Splatter: Love, Honor and Paintball," will be shown the first week of July.

Music-oriented films will continue Wednesday evenings.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights when there is no live show, a film will be shown. These will include classic and family films.

One day a month, movie admission will be free to children ages 12 and younger, thanks to support from the Burlington Fine Arts League and other contributors. Each Sunday at 2 p.m. when no other event is planned, there will be a family movie matinee.

October will feature daily screenings of scary movies.

November to February

Nov. 1 and 2, the Capitol welcomes Pandora's Circus, a cirque-style theater show that tells the story of what happens after Pandora opens the box.

The theater will celebrate Movember with a men's health awareness event that will feature a day-after-Thanksgiving reunion concert by the Gibbs Brothers. Opening act Nov. 28 will be another local group, Caught in the Crypt.

An Elvis Christmas with Joseph Hall, who ventured away from Branson, Mo., in January to play the Capitol, is set for Dec. 12.

Plans for February include a Valentine's Day tribute to classic country music. Honky Tonks and Sweet Dreams will celebrate the music of Hank Williams Sr., Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and more.

Other than continuing regular film screenings, programming is not solidified beyond that event.

'Feeling our way'

"We're feeling our way to really find out what the community wants," Arellano said.

One experiment will be with on-stage seating for an additional fee or as a perk for sponsors, she said.


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Source: Hawk Eye, The (Burlington, IA)

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