Celebrating the life of Bill Conner, CAPA President & CEO

November 16th, 2016 by CAPASMM

On November 13, we celebrated the extraordinary life of CAPA President & CEO Bill Conner at a public memorial service. If you would like to share in these favorite memories and special performances, you can watch the service below.

Performances by:

Columbus Symphony Orchestra
String Quartet
Alicia Hui, violin
Tatiana Hanna, violin
Karl Pedersen, viola
Luis Biava, cello

Opera Columbus
“Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables
Daniel Stein, tenor
Barbara Brenton Sahr, pianist

CATCO
“Love Changes Everything” from Aspects of Love
Joe Bishara, vocalist
Jonathan Collura, pianist

Columbus Symphony Orchestra
String Quartet
“The Minstrel”/”Danny Boy” (traditional)

CAPA mourns the loss of President and CEO William B. Conner Jr. | 1952-2016

October 31st, 2016 by CAPASMM

CAPA is mourning the passing of our President and CEO, William B. Conner Jr. After a two-year battle with cancer, Conner died last week at the age of 64, surrounded by loved ones.

He was named president and CEO of CAPA in July 2002. In his more than 14 years in that role, he pioneered the implementation of a shared service business model at CAPA, an innovative concept in the arts industry that garnered nationwide attention. As such, CAPA provides personalized back office services to local arts organizations in areas such as marketing, publicity, ticketing, finance, human resources, IT, management, operations, and development per each organization’s needs.

Current organizations utilizing CAPA’s shared services include the Columbus Symphony, CATCO, Drexel Theatre, Franklin Park Conservatory, McCoy Center for the Arts, Lincoln Theatre Association, and Opera Columbus. He also expanded CAPA’s agreement with Broadway Across America in 2009, making CAPA a partner in all Broadway in Columbus presentations.

Under Conner’s tenure, CAPA also helmed the $13.9 million renovation of the Lincoln Theatre (reopened in 2009) and $2.5 million renovation of the Drexel Theatre (reopened in 2016). After being approached by the City of Columbus in 2009, Conner also took on production of Festival Latino.

CAPA grieves the loss of not only a great leader, but a great friend. We join in the family’s heartache at his loss, but also celebrate his generous spirit, exuberant character, and kind heart. We are a better organization, and better people, for having known him.

Bill Conner

To read more about Bill Conner, here is an article from The Columbus Dispatch.

 

CAPA Summer Movie Series – Keeping 35mm Films Alive

June 30th, 2016 by CAPASMM

Rich Corsi, CAPA’s VP of Programming, takes us behind-the-scenes of the CAPA Summer Movie Series. Now in its 46th year, the CAPA Summer Movie Series is the longest-running classic film series in the United States.

The Ohio Theatre opened in 1928 as a silent-movie palace, and we pride ourselves in keeping that history alive. One way we preserve that authenticity, is by showing as many films as possible in the 35mm format.

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“You know, I really do think there is something to be said about showing a film in the format that it was shot in, like 35mm,” says Corsi. “There’s just something about seeing it on that big screen in the theatre, knowing audiences back in the ‘30s saw the same thing, the same way. There’s a beauty about it travelling for the past 60 years.”

Because of the fragility of 35mm films, many distribution companies are opting for the risk-free option of digital. “Obviously it would be easier to get a Blu-Ray,” says Corsi. “You can order a Blu-Ray, and they can deliver it by envelope the next day. Or, you can order six, 20 pound reels delivered by truck, and hope the reel doesn’t get crushed, or spliced in the wrong place. But we pride ourselves in getting as many of the 35mm films as possible.”

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This year, 18 of the 27 films shown will be in 35mm format. Many film purists flock to the Ohio Theatre for that experience. “People want the grain and the crackle,” says Corsi.

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The CAPA Summer Movie Series runs through August 7 at the Ohio Theatre. Tickets are $4 at the door, or a strip of 10 tickets is $25 through July 24.

Volunteer Spotlight: Don McDowell

March 15th, 2016 by CAPASMM

Volunteers are a very important resource to many non-profit organizations, donating their time, energy, and hard work to help an organization meet its mission, goals, and objectives. Here at CAPA, we are beyond fortunate to have a dedicated core of volunteers that help make us possible. We would like to shine the spotlight on our longest-standing volunteer, Don McDowell.

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I served in the army for two years in the Korean War, ending up as an occupation force in Europe, 10 miles outside the Alps. After I got out of the army, I worked for Ohio State Bank, but wasn’t totally satisfied with it. So, I branched out and got a job with Columbus Public Schools as a film librarian, distributing films throughout the school system. That worked out very well. For 65 years, I also taught piano and violin at my parents’ music studio part-time to help keep it going. It’s been a lot of fun.

How long have you volunteered with CAPA?
This year will mark 46 years! In 1969, CAPA was formed and saved the Ohio Theatre, and I wanted to help. Since I knew my way around the movie industry, I booked two or three films which were shown at the Ohio in 1970. It grew into the CAPA Summer Movie Series from there, and in 2016, it will celebrate its 46th year too!

Can you describe some of the things you do for us?
I did the movies for seven years, for a while it was just my wife, Debbie and I volunteering as an usher and in concessions – it’s grown since then. After that, I became an usher and still do that to this day.

What is your favorite memory from working with CAPA?
Getting the movie series going. It was no easy task. It’s important to show the older movies to college-age people.

Do you have a favorite show or performance you’ve seen while with us?
A lot of what the CSO does is magnificent. They’ve progressed in recent years where they are a major orchestra now. My favorite Broadway show is Les Misérables. It has very few spoken scenes. Except for the battle scenes, everything is sung. That’s an opera where I come from, but nobody will admit it.

What made you want to start volunteering with CAPA and what have been some of the benefits?
I’m too cheap to buy tickets and found a way around it. If I bought tickets to everything I wanted to see, it’d be too much. I like people in general. I love to banter with the audiences.

What would you tell others to encourage them to volunteer with CAPA as well?
They need to enjoy theatre and people. And throw in music and ballet, for that matter. It’s been a very rewarding experience for me. And you never get tired of it because there’s such a variety coming through all the theatres, not just the Ohio Theatre.

If you would like to join CAPA’s volunteer team and create some great memories of your own, contact Janet Rife at
volunteer@capa.com.

Volunteer Spotlight: Eric and Rachel Johnson

February 12th, 2016 by CAPASMM

Volunteers are a very important resource to many non-profit organizations, donating their time, energy, and hard work to help an organization to meet its mission, goals, and objectives. Here at CAPA, we are beyond fortunate to have a dedicated core of volunteers that help make us possible. For Valentine’s Day, we would like to shine the spotlight on volunteers Eric and Rachel Johnson, who not only fell in love with CAPA but each other as well!

 

Could you tell us the most recent show you volunteered for?
We worked both the Saturday matinee and evening performances of The Sound of Music.
[Eric] The female lead had a very good voice and I very much enjoyed the songs.
[Rachel] I really like the energy at the Broadway shows. They tend to be busy, and people are pretty excited to be there.

How long have you each been volunteering with CAPA and what got you to start?
[Eric] I began ushering in June 2008. I had already been volunteering at Picnic with the Pops and a co-worker encouraged me to try ushering as well.
[Rachel] I started in January 2010, so six years. I was in my second year of full-time graduate school at OSU (Atmospheric Sciences MS/PhD), and doing weather research all the time was hard for me. I wanted something to do in the evenings and on weekends. My aunt and uncle, who are heavily involved with the arts in Seattle, suggested I look for Columbus volunteer opportunities in the arts. That’s how I found CAPA.

Can you describe some of the things you do for us?
[Eric] You will more often than not find me at the front doors taking tickets, and when I am not doing that, I am usually the lead usher (captain) of the left or right balcony. Sometimes, you will find me taking patrons to their seats as a regular usher.
[Rachel] I help patrons get where they need to go in the theatre (their seats, restroom, box office, etc.). I also like to share theatre history and other shows that I’ve enjoyed.

I understand that you met through CAPA. Can you remember a moment in particular that brought you two together?
We lived and worked near each other for years, but only met through our volunteer work with CAPA. So, CAPA is very special to us.
[Eric] March 10, 2012, at the Capitol Theatre, we were both ticket takers at the second performance of Miracles and Magic performance. Rachel’s scanner malfunctioned, and after the show started, we sat out in the lobby and scanned the tickets that Rachel had to tear by hand. We talked while scanning, and ended up deciding to get dinner together.
[Rachel] It started moving quickly after that day—a CSO concert two weeks later was our first real date. We realized we had a lot in common in addition to CAPA. We’re both scientists who love the arts.

Do you guys have a favorite show or performance you’ve seen while with us?
[Eric] There have been so many great shows. The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera were great. I would have to say my favorite show that I have worked was a Japanese Taiko (drum) group.
[Rachel] Well, this one we actually attended as patrons, but Twisted (CSO/BalletMet/Opera Columbus collaboration) was fabulous. Honestly, every six months I have a new favorite show. One of the great things about Columbus is that we get amazing touring shows through here, but we also have stellar local organizations like the CSO, BalletMet, ProMusica, Columbus Children’s Theatre, and Opera Columbus. There are so many great performances being created right here in Columbus.

Aside from finding your soulmate, what are some benefits from working with CAPA?
[Eric] It is an enjoyable volunteering experience and you get to work many great shows.
[Rachel] The people and the shows. I’ve made many friends through CAPA, and seen shows I would not have attended otherwise. I love helping patrons navigate the theatres, especially the ones who are new to the venue or haven’t been there in years.

What would you tell others to encourage them to volunteer with CAPA as well?
[Eric] You get exposed to so many great performances.
[Rachel] You’re working with great people at great shows, and you can really make a difference in the patron experience. I am so happy to use my time and energy to help people have a good experience at the CAPA theatres. And the shows are wonderful. I worked The Phantom of the Opera seven times when it was here in 2014.

What show are you volunteering at next and what are you looking forward to about it?
Our next show is BalletMet’s Carmen.maquia.
[Eric] I have found that I quite enjoy BalletMet’s performances. I was not interested in ballet until my exposure through CAPA. Now I try to work all their performances, and will buy tickets to see the ones that I am really interested in. Alice in Wonderland was a great performance.
[Rachel] The artistry and athleticism of BalletMet is amazing, whether it’s a traditional ballet or a new work.

Lastly, would you recommend CAPA as a good match-maker?
[Eric] For someone who finds the arts to be an important part of their life, it’s a good way to meet other like-minded individuals.
[Rachel] As Eric says, if you like the performing arts and interacting with people, then you’ll meet similar people with CAPA!

If you would like to join CAPA’s volunteer team and create some great memories of your own, contact Janet Rife at volunteer@capa.com.

 

Interview by Brian Doney.

Volunteer Spotlight: Frank Atkinson

December 23rd, 2015 by CAPASMM

Volunteers are a very important resource to many non-profit organizations, donating their time, energy and hard work to help an organization to meet its mission, goals, and objectives. Here at CAPA, we are beyond fortunate to have a dedicated core of volunteers that help make us possible. We would like to shine the spotlight on one of our most long-standing volunteers, Frank Atkinson.

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a big computer geek. I’ve lived here in Columbus since the mid-80s.

How long have you volunteered with CAPA?
I started volunteering in ’81 at the Palace Theatre. [Almost 35 years!]

Can you describe some of the things you do for us?
I created a website which started as a way for me to keep track of my volunteer schedule [a website of all calendar events happening at CAPA theatres for the volunteers]. Then I realized others could use it too!

What made you want to start volunteering at CAPA?
I went to a show with my girlfriend at the time and saw some friends volunteering at the show. They told us how fun it was, so we decided to start volunteering too. I worked downtown for 18 years, so it was easy to volunteer after work.

What is your favorite memory from working with CAPA?
When the economy was bad, I started volunteering even more to get out and see people. All the volunteers and even the regular patrons had become like a second family, so it was nice to get out and do something with my time during the recession.

Do you have a favorite show or performance you’ve seen while with us?
Les Mis is my favorite show, and I probably never would have seen it if I wasn’t a volunteer. I’ve seen so many shows. The ones that come here are wonderful. Cirque du Soleil was fun and different to see also. I get to enjoy a lot of things behind the scenes. Mickey Rooney came and talked to volunteers at one point, I gave directions to a couple Rockettes walking downtown, and I’ve become friends with the people who work backstage.

What do you see as some of the benefits of volunteering?
Meeting people and seeing the shows are definite benefits. During the recession, when I wasn’t working, coming in to volunteer and seeing my extended family kept my sanity. I can remember people coming in when they were kids, and now they are grown up and still coming to the shows. Some even bring their own kids now!

What would you tell others to encourage them to volunteer with CAPA as well?
If you enjoy people-watching, this is the place to be. Ushers from all backgrounds are here, and are some great people. You can move from job to job, and work throughout the different theatres downtown. It’s a great experience, especially if you are keen to get out and get involved!

If you would like to join CAPA’s volunteer team and create some great memories of your own, contact Janet Rife at volunteer@capa.com.
 

Interview by Martina Cisneros

CAPA Staff Member’s Review of ‘Once’

December 18th, 2014 by CAPASMM

Recently, some of the CAPA staff previewed the hit musical Once in Cincinnati in preparation for the production’s Columbus premiere in June 2015. Here’s one employee’s review…

by Anna Schaeffer

“Before seeing Once, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’d never seen the production or the movie. When I walked into the theatre, I was shocked to see the audience up on stage, buying drinks right from the bar on the set! Right away, I knew this wasn’t going to be your typical Broadway show.
First, a little back story. The show focuses on two main characters, only referred to in the program as Guy and Girl. (I thought the lack of formal names gave the story a universal relatability.) Each is reeling from a bad breakup when they meet at a local pub where Guy is performing. Girl feels the heartbreak in his songs, and makes it her mission to help him win back his ex-girlfriend. When they begin to play some of his songs together, they realize their combined talents make beautiful music. Girl convinces Guy they should record a demo to mail to his ex-girlfriend, and the story progresses from there…

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Once is unique for many reasons. For starters, there is no pit orchestra – actually, there’s no orchestra at all! Not only does the cast act, sing, and dance, but they also play multiple other instruments while doing so, all without missing a beat. It was truly impressive, and something I have never seen before.
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The storyline of Once is also something unique to Broadway. It’s not predictable. It’s not a classic love story, it’s not anything you would image it would be. It feels like a real story with real people, not something that would “only happen in a Broadway show.” It deals with real heartache, loss, passion, pain, and moving on, and the cast was brilliant at making the audience feel each and every one of these emotions. During one particular scene (I won’t give anything away!), the audience was so captivated; you could hear the cast breathing!

Even with all of these amazing elements, the show’s best quality is definitely the music. Again, not your typical Broadway show tunes! The most recognizable song from the production is “Falling Slowly,” the first song performed by Guy and Girl together. When Girl came in with the harmony, I had chills that did not go away until the end of the song. It’s refreshing to experience such a reaction from a song that is beautiful in its simplicity and effortlessness. Although, one of the most moving performances in the show comes in Act II, during “The Hill”, a song which Girl sings alone at the piano. I can only describe it as heart-wrenchingly beautiful.


Overall, the show is nothing I expected it to be (in the best way possible). It’s unique, refreshing, and simply beautiful, and I am counting down the days until I can see it again!”

Once will be at the Palace Theatre June 9-14. Tickets go on sale March 12.

The new CAPA Ticket Center is now open!

August 13th, 2012 by admin

CAPA has just opened a brand new ticket center as a tool to serve you better. Located just a few feet from its previous location, the new-and-improved CAPA Ticket Center now occupies the former Ohio Theatre gift shop space, so we have moved from the east side of the Ohio Theatre marquee to the west side. While the sleek, modern design simply looks AMAZING, the redesign of the space was custom-made for just one thing—better serving you!

Features of the new CAPA Ticket Center:

– We have increased our customer service stations from two to five (one of which is wheelchair accessible) and equipped each station with a monitor on a swivel arm. Now we can simply turn the monitor to face you, making it comfortable for you to view and choose available seats from a venue’s seating chart.

– Monitors in the front window and behind the counter will make sure you know about all the great events coming to CAPA venues.

– While you’re there, check out the autographed Ohio Theatre stage door on display in the lobby. Joe Worman, Ohio Theatre stage manager from 1955-95, asked all the big stars who performed at the theatre to sign the stage door, amassing an impressive autograph collection spanning seven doors. Now you can check them out one at a time as we periodically rotate them into the space.

It’s all about YOU, Columbus! So, come check us out!

 

The Ohio Theatre: This Is Your Life!

March 10th, 2011 by Elena Perantoni-Fehr

By Elena Perantoni, Programming Assistant

Happy Birthday to yooooou….
Happy Birthday to yooooou….
Happy Birthday dear Ohio Theatre!
Happy Birthday to yooooou!!

[Music and original lyrics by Mildred Hill and Patty Hill]

Wow, lady! You look good for 83! Better than ever, I’d say. But I guess I’m kind of biased. See, I have the distinct honor to work within your walls each day, and have I ever mentioned to you how grateful I am for that?

As a fellow March baby, there are several things I think we have in common. Pisces is a mutable sign, which indicates that you’re a restless soul, always longing for movement. Boy, is that an understatement! You’re not one to settle for a night off, Ohio Theatre. I believe you’re at your best when your marquee is lit, your stage is full, and your audiences are cheering.

When your doors first opened on March 17, 1928, you were christened the Loew’s and United Artist’s Ohio Theatre (although now you go only by your surname – how very Cher of you!). Your first love was movies, and you premiered new ones every Thursday. In the 1930s-50s, that meant two films, cartoons, newsreels, and organ interludes. Eventually though, as folks flocked to the suburbs and their shiny new televisions, attendance dropped and your hallowed halls were in jeopardy of being demolished. Luckily, at the tender age of 41, a newly organized group called CAPA (or the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts) raised the money to purchase you and dutifully restore every possible authentic detail. It must have felt so wonderful to once more get the attention you deserve.

For many years prior to your renovation, you were referred to as “the shabby old dowager of State Street.” Now you are the “Official Theatre for the State of Ohio” and a vital part of downtown Columbus. Nothing pleases me more than to see your marquee lit up on a beautiful Ohio evening. As you continue to grow and shift with the times, one thing will certainly never change – we are so very fortunate to have you!

And now, Ohio Theatre, this is your life! (Or at least some very entertaining anecdotes from it…)

  • Your original construction cost was $865,000. Your purchase price in 1969 was $2.5 million. Current value: priceless.
  • Regular organ use ended in 1942 when Roger Garrett, the resident organist from 1933-42, enlisted in World War II. The “Mighty Morton” theatre organ currently used during the CAPA Summer Movie Series and other special events is the very same organ that Roger Garrett used to play.
  • Your lower level used to house what was referred to as the “Africa Corner.” Anne Dornan, one of the first women to graduate from the Columbia School for Architecture, went on an African safari to procure just the right accoutrement for the corner which was decorated with, among other things, zebra hides and elk heads.
  • I alluded earlier to the fact that we’re birthday buddies, our special days falling just 4 days apart. You turn 83 this year, and I was born in the great year of 1983. I did some research and was able to find the number of patrons that have entered your doors since that great year. It’s a big number. Are you ready for it? 8,528,985 people! That’s more than 10 times the current population of Columbus! Your attendees over the past 28 years could fill Ohio Stadium more than 80 times.

Thank you, Ohio Theatre, from just one of many people that have been lucky enough to work for you over the years. We appreciate you more than you know.

Happy Birthday!

The Final Curtain

March 4th, 2011 by admin

by Dustin Grovemiller, (former) Donor Relations Manager

For the last three years and nine months, I have had the pleasure of working for CAPA in support of its theatres, operations, and impact here in the central Ohio community. Today is my last day.

(And not to worry–I’m leaving for very positive reasons.)

During my time here, I have gotten to work with some incredibly amazing folks, co-workers and donors alike. The people behind the scenes at CAPA have been its hallmark from the very beginning, when a small group of arts supporters from the community worked together to save the Ohio Theatre from imminent destruction nearly 42 years ago. Though the faces have changed over time (mostly — one of CAPA’s founders is still on the board and is actively involved!), the quality of the people that support CAPA from both inside and out has never ceased to amaze me. Staff, board, volunteers, donors… it’s across the board.

Which brings me to the final thought of my time here–a giant round of thanks to all the donors that I’ve had the pleasure to meet at events, chat with on the phone, or with whom I’ve exchanged notes. Even on days that weren’t my best, getting to see the support for CAPA’s theatres, programs, and impact in our community always made a difference to me and has moved me to do good work. Even as I leave, I look forward to the opportunity to stay involved in the work here by donating and by joining the more than 500,000 people that see shows in our theatres each year.

Thanks, CAPA. I’m proud to have been a part of it.