The Capitol Theatre officially opened on Dec. 13 after a $9 million renovation and expansion.
CLEARWATER – The official unveiling of the renovated historic Capitol Theatre is Dec. 18 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The sign was officially lighted during Winter’s Miracle on Cleveland Street Dec. 13. Michael McDonald is the first scheduled performer and takes the stage on Dec. 18.
Constructed in 1921, the Capitol Theatre – formerly called the Royalty Theatre – has hosted many genres of performances throughout the decades. Ruth Eckerd Hall has recently spent $9 million to restore, renovate and expand it, with new features including a grand lobby, concession area, additional restrooms, Frenchy’s Rooftop Terrace, and an outdoor balcony that overlooks Clearwater Harbor and Cleveland Street. The expansion also boosted the capacity from 450 to 737 seats. REH and the city hope that the theater will help revitalize downtown Clearwater and keep the city busy at night.
During construction, a Wall of Honor that commemorates local World War I vets, was discovered in April. The names were painted in alphabetical order on a brick wall that was once adjacent to the Clearwater Sun newspaper building. Part of the wall was able to be preserved and was left in place. The part that had to be torn down is set to be reassembled by the city and will be displayed in City Hall.
The theater, which is owned by the city but managed by REH, is set to present numerous forms of live entertainment, from pop, jazz and classical music to films, dance, and other performers from all over the country. Upcoming entertainers include Jay Leno, Bob Newhart, Michael Bolton, and Joan Rivers.
The Grand Opening ceremony is set for Sunday, Feb. 9.