Capitol Theatre hosts gala opening party



Shuttered for the past 20 years, the recently renovated Capitol Theatre held an extravagant, invite-only opening last night that was marked by speeches and ceremony. It commenced with a party under a tent outside the venue; guests were treated to fine food courtesy of nearby LUXE restaurant and a jazz band played standards. After about an hour of wining and dining, everyone was ushered into the theater where they saw “Precious Images,” an Oscar-winning short that compiles clips from classic films, many of which have played at the theater back when it was open. Joy Roller, the Executive Director of the Gordon Square Arts District, then spoke about the theater’s re-opening as a “long-awaited, important milestone.” “We’ve got it all right here in Cleveland,” she said to applause from the sold out crowd.

After a showing of the WVIZ/PBS “Applause” special about the renovated theater, councilman Matt Zone spoke. “Tonight is an emotional night,” he said. “This theater tells the story of our past and our future. Our mayor and city council like this city and they like Gordon Square.” Zone then introduced Joe Russo, a Shaker Heights native who, along with his brother Anthony, has had a successful moviemaking career. Technical difficulties prevented a clip from Community, the new CBS comedy he and his brother have created, from showing. But Russo graciously accepted an achievement award, reading a speech from his iPhone. He said the theater was “so critical to the preservation of the arts.”

After a short performance by the Near West Theatre, which is hoping to raise money to open a permanent home in Gordon Square, Cleveland Cinemas president Jon Foreman, who is responsible for managing and operating the place, gave a short speech before concluding, “we believe you’ll want to return.” Director Kristopher Belman was supposed to introduce his film, More Than a Game, but he was unable to attend, so the movie just screened without his introduction. The digital projection screen looked sharp, and the new sound system was spectacular. Guests were treated to fancy desserts in the theater’s lobby afterward. The theater officially opens to the public tonight with screenings of More Than a Game, Toy Story I and II in 3-D and Capitalism: A Love Story, and a $35 ticket gets you into the party that follows the screenings.

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