Happy birthday, Ohio Theatre!

March 17th, 2016 by CAPASMM

Today at CAPA we have another reason to celebrate, aside from St. Patrick’s Day, it is also the 88th birthday of the Ohio Theatre! The Ohio is not only a world-class venue that is both a state and national landmark where we get to arrange and watch entertaining shows year round, but it is also the reason why CAPA exists in the first place. Our history with the Ohio only goes back to 1969 but we would like to take the time to celebrate and remember just what a dramatic history the Ohio has been through.

After opening day on March 17, 1928 the Ohio gave the stage to many talented vaudeville era performers including Milton Berle, Jean Harlow, and a young emcee with a violin Jack Benny! The Ohio was originally built for silent movies, and then when talking movies took over completely in 1934 it stopped holding live performances. However many movie stars traveled with their movies to promote them, Jean Harlow and Judy Garland both made appearances at the Ohio!

After WWII, times started changing for the Ohio, attendance was dropping, which couldn’t support a large movie house for long until 1969 when the theatre was sold from Loew to a real estate firm. Many believed at the time that this would be the final curtain for the Ohio, since it was threatened to be put under the wrecking ball to build a new state office tower. A few groups banded together to save the Ohio, but CAPA was the only one successful enough to raise $2.5 million, to buy back and restore it.

Since the successful rescue of the Ohio, there has been nothing but success, it was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, then declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978, and named “Official Theatre for the State of Ohio.” Columbus resident Mary Bishop, who led the restoration effort from 1969-1984, was honored by the National Trust for keeping the Ohio close to the original set up Loew, Lamb, and Dornan envisioned 88 years ago.

So the next time you walk into the Ohio for a performance by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Broadway in Columbus, the Summer Movie Series, or any of the other great shows our theatre hosts, take a look around and remember the struggles and sacrifices from the creators, the founders and employees of CAPA, and volunteers that got the Ohio to where it is today. Lastly, remember that it is you, the audience, that has given the Ohio the recognition and home it deserves. The Ohio continues to be a center piece of art and culture in Columbus for 88 years because of the people who love to come here and treat it like home. Thank you for making it possible for all of us at CAPA to say “Happy birthday, Ohio Theatre!”

And now, a clip to show you the history that the Ohio has experienced!

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.

Getting to know the star of The Sound of Music, Kerstin Anderson

January 28th, 2016 by CAPASMM

Broadway in Columbus and CAPA are proud to bring the brand new production of The Sound of Music, directed by three-time Tony Award® winner Jack O’Brien, to Columbus! The spirited, romantic, and beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp family will thrill audiences with its Tony®, Grammy®, and Academy Award®-winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss,” and the title song.

Early this week CAPA had the opportunity to catch up with Kerstin Anderson, the lead actress playing Maria Rainer in The Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music will be at the Ohio Theatre January 26-31, 2016. Limited tickets are still available here or at the CAPA Ticket Center.

 

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

Behind the Scenes with Lindsay Nicole Chambers

October 9th, 2015 by CAPASMM

Take a behind-the-scenes look at Kinky Boots!

Columbus native Lindsay Nicole Chambers (who plays Lauren) fill us in on everything from her favorite song in the show to her favorite emoji. Don’t miss Kinky Boots at the Ohio Theatre now through Sunday!

Kinky Boots is Broadway’s huge-hearted, high-heeled hit! With songs by Grammy and Tony-winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this joyous musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind. Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Ohio Theatre’s Morton Organ

July 28th, 2015 by CAPASMM

If you are Ohio Theatre-goer at CAPA’s Summer Movie Series, you know of the marvelous partnership between the Morton theatre organ and organist Clark Wilson, but you may not know of the incredible history behind the pair. Here are five interesting facts about the “Mighty Morton” and organist Clark Wilson.

1) The organ is nicknamed the “Mighty Morton.” Powered by a 25-horsepower turbine-type blower beneath the stage, the organ is raised and lowered by a screw-driven, enabling it to be “hidden” during other performances. Comprised of more than 2,500 pipes, the organ is mighty indeed!

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2) The “Mighty Morton” has lived in the Ohio Theatre since the building opened in 1928! Many forget that the Ohio Theatre was originally a movie palace, and the organ was installed to accompany the silent films of the day.

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3) Last of its kind. The “Mighty Morton” is one of four identical organs created for theatres in the US. However, it is the only one still in its original home.

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4) Disney is a fan! If you’ve ever ridden Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride, you’ve heard a Morton organ, as it plays throughout the attraction’s audio.

5) Clark Wilson and the “Mighty Morton” have history! Clark attended the 1969 Farewell Concert when the Ohio Theatre was in danger of being torn down, and was inspired to learn the organ. “The sound of the theater organ was just really something. It was such a dynamic sound,” he said. In 2015, Clark celebrates his 24th season as resident organist for the Ohio Theatre.

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“Anything that’s old enough is new again.” -Clark Wilson

by Anna Schaeffer

CAPA’S Summer Movie Series will continue at the Ohio Theatre through August 9. To purchase tickets, click here, or call the CAPA Ticket Center at (614) 469-0939.

Palace Marquee Gets a Facelift!

April 13th, 2015 by CAPASMM

Have you noticed a little less “dazzle” downtown lately? While the gray skies may be partially responsible, we at CAPA have been missing the Palace Theatre’s iconic vertical marquee that normally lights up Broad Street.

The sign was removed on Saturday, February 21, for a little facelift. The marquee has been refurbished, most notably the lighting. DāNite Sign Co. has re-painted the sign and replaced the neon with LED lighting. The updates will drastically improve energy efficiency and cut down (or virtually eliminate) all maintenance. So, no more burnt out letters!

This is not the first makeover the Palace marquee has gotten! In November of 1929, the Palace Theatre became the Radio Keith Orpheum (RKO) Palace Theatre, when the theatre was transitioning from vaudeville acts to films and live acts. It was then the Palace Theatre vertical marquee was created, boasting the letters “RKO” at the very top.

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The marquee was replaced as part of the theatre’s grand re-opening in the 1980s, resulting in the familiar Broad Street icon that we know today.

On April 11 the updated sign was re-installed with new life, above the Palace Theatre marquee. Now beaming brighter than ever, the Palace Theatre sign clearly marks one of Columbus’ true treasures—a stunning historic theatre still serving our community after almost 90 years.

by Emily Belcik

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.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Ohio Theatre’s new custom-designed orchestra shell!

December 12th, 2014 by CAPASMM

Learn how and why the year-long project was such a priority for the theatre, how it developed from just a basic concept to actual installation, and how the stunning, finished product delivers superior acoustics to both audience and musicians.

Your next chance to see and hear the Ohio Theatre’s new orchestra shell in action will be the Columbus Symphony concerts on January 9 and 10, featuring the first program in its American Roots Festival—Dvořák’s Ninth!

 

by Anna Schaeffer