November 11th, 2011

Officials with Bring Back the Magic – a campaign to restore and renovate downtown Burlington’s Capitol Theater – announced they have reached their $3 million fundraising goal.

The current phase of restoration will restore the theater and the first floor of the adjacent annex. The second floor of the annex is not included in this stage of restoration. The Capitol Theater’s Campaign Cabinet has said that when additional funds are raised, the second floor of the annex would be open to the public.

“We’ve reached our goal earlier than expected thanks to the fantastic support of area residents and businesses,” said Dennis Wilson, Bring Back the Magic’s campaign chairman. “But we are still accepting investors and they can still be recognized. Our goal is to open and operate this performing arts theater in 2012 with no long-term debt.”

To date, local investors have given or pledged more than $1.2 million to the project. Before the communitywide fundraising effort launched in June 2011, the Capitol Theater Foundation secured $1.8 million in grants, tax credits and donations, which included a $1 million I-Jobs grant to the project in August 2010.

The campaign has received four commitments at the Producer Level – a pledge of $100,000 or more. The largest private investment to date has been $250,000 by the Harry and Virginia Murray Foundation.

A plaque inside the theater will list the names of those who have donated $1,000 to $9,999. “Hollywood” stars also are available for five-year pledges on the sidewalk outside the theater. Star sizes and prices are:

  • 6-inch star –$10,000
  • 8-inch star – $25,000
  • 12-inch star – $50,000
  • 15-inch star – $100,000 or more

Members of the Bring Back the Magic Campaign Cabinet are:

  • Becky Anderson
  • John Arledge
  • Win Boyd
  • Terri Dowell
  • Roger Hatteberg
  • Debbie Jochims
  • Jerry Jochims
  • Jerry Krause
  • Janet McCannon
  • Dwight Mulch
  • Sue Mulch
  • Bryan Schulte
  • Keith Schulz
  • Beverly Simone
  • Dennis Wilson

The Capitol Theater opened in 1937 and closed in 1977. The theater was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. With the renovation of the original theater and an adjacent building, the Capitol Theater will be a multipurpose venue for films, performing arts, musical performances, visual art and other community uses. The first event at the renovated theater, a film festival, has been booked for June 2012.

John Speer was hired earlier this year as the theater's first executive director. Speer has a master’s degree in mass communication and public relations from Brigham Young University. He teaches speech, theater, journalism and film at Southeastern Community College. Speer was executive producer for The American Regional Theatre Project in Fairfield, Iowa, for 10 years. He also was Associate Dean of Students at Maharishi University of Management, where he directed the work of the college's four main theatrical and entertainment venues.

For more information about Bring Back the Magic, call 319-237-1099.