Capitol Theatre Reopens As Concert Venue

Designed by theater architect Thomas W. Lamb as a Vaudeville house and movie theater, the 1,800-seat Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. opened in 1926 and has endured over the decades as an entertainment venue in various incarnations. As a performance space in the early 1970s it became a major East Coast rock venue, attracting The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, Santana, Eric Clapton and Traffic.
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Designed by theater architect Thomas W. Lamb as a Vaudeville house and movie theater, the 1,800-seat Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. opened in 1926 and has endured over the decades as an entertainment venue in various incarnations. As a performance space in the early 1970s it became a major East Coast rock venue, attracting The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, Santana, Eric Clapton and Traffic.
Capitol_Theatre_Edwards_Dindas_Koharik_web.jpg

From left: FOH engineer Chris Edwards, production manager Jon Dindas, and monitor engineer RJ Koharik.

Photo: Alex Pines

Designed by theater architect Thomas W. Lamb as a Vaudeville house and movie theater, the 1,800-seat Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. opened in 1926 and has endured over the decades as an entertainment venue in various incarnations. As a performance space in the early 1970s it became a major East Coast rock venue, attracting The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, Santana, Eric Clapton and Traffic. Rock concerts returned to The Cap in the 1990s with Blues Traveler, Phish, and shows by the Rolling Stones and David Bowie for MTV’s Live at the 10 Spot series.

But the theater had to survive in the late '90s and 2000s as a catering hall for private events until 2011 when Peter Shapiro—who operated New York City’s Wetlands Preserve nightclub and helped launch the Brooklyn Bowl in 2009—envisioned an opportunity to revitalize it as a live music venue once again. The Capitol Theatre reopened on September 4, 2012, with a Bob Dylan concert.

Shapiro brought in longtime associate Jon Dindas as the production manager to conceive and oversee new lighting, projection and audio systems. “The primary [acoustical] goal of the theater was to amplify the spoken word,” Dindas says. “But the room wasn’t designed for big amplification.” Acoustician Tom Ryan of Technological Design Studios in Annapolis, Md., tested the room, and Dindas specified d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker and monitoring systems that were installed by Eighth Day Sound. Mains comprise V8 (eight per side), V12 (two per side), V-SUB (four flown per side, four under downstage lip), T10 (four as frontfills) and D12 amplification. Presidential boxes and the stage platform get 10S loudspeakers and D12 amplification.

“Because we’re dealing with such a beautifully ornate theater we wanted something that would sound the way we wanted but also be minimalistic in terms of the way it looked when you walked in,” Dindas says.