Capitol Theatre in York set to re-open after $2 million facelift

Written by Neil Strebig/The York Daily Record | Oct 9, 2018 8:47 AM
Capitol Theatre renovations.JPG

Patrons enjoying shows from the lower level of the theater will have views like this. (Cameron Clark/The York Daily Record)

After seven months of construction and nearly $2 million in renovations, the Capitol Theatre in downtown York will officially re-open its doors on Oct. 24. 

"[The Capitol] just needed renovation, it deserved it," said Rebecca Fellin, director of marketing for the Appell Center for the Performing Arts. The theater has been closed since April. 

According to Fellin, this is the first "documented renovation," or first large-scale upgrade, for the theater since the 1920s. It was built as "The Jackson" in 1906. It was later remodeled as a movie theater in 1926 after Nathan and Louis Appell Sr. purchased the property and gave it its modern moniker, "The Capitol." 

Much of the original 1920s architecture still exists throughout the theater. Fellin noted the goal of the project was to "keep anything that made it historically charming" and implemented "modern renovations and accommodations."

Patrons will notice a remodeled foyer, a new concession stand, and updated restrooms including an ADA restroom near the left entrance to the theater. 

The concession stand now boasts a four-tap draft beer system. Local artist Chelsea Foster is expected to complete a mural above the concession stand that will pay homage to the theater's rich cultural heritage. 

Capitol Theatre projector.jpg

The projector has been fully put together and is working properly. (Cameron Clark/The York Daily Record)

Inside the 450-seat theater, a digital cinema projector replaces a traditional film projector, and an automated screen replaces the hand-pulley screen and curtain system previously used. The theater will also be equipped with an improved sound system.

The most time-consuming project was an overhaul to the seating arrangement in the theater, said Fellin. While the original seats remain, they've been updated and spaced out to comfortably fit 450 guests including improved sight-lines so all guests have a clear view of the stage. Many patrons had complained about the poor sight-lines in the previous design.

"The post-renovation goal was to really increase the amount of shows each year," said Fellin. The Capitol previously held around 120 shows annually, now the Appell Center is aiming to host 200 events each year. 

The initial construction was funded by a $700,000 PA First Program Grant and the rest of the near-$2 million project, which exceeds the original $1.6 million plan, was raised through fundraising and donations. Kinsley Construction, Warehaus design firm and Capital Construction Management oversaw the project's design and competition. 

The Capitol Theatre will hold a soft-opening on Oct. 24 with a performance from Low Cut Connie at 7 p.m. The grand re-opening will take place on Oct. 25 with a sold-out performance from Bruce Hornsby. 

The Capitol Theatre will also host a free Halloween Film Festival on Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. through 9 p.m. The film festival will feature a 5 p.m. showing of the silent film "Waxworks" and a musical performance from the Susquehanna Valley Theater Organ Society's use of the theater's "Mighty Wurlitzer" organ, which sits below the main stage. 

The Capitol Theatre is at 50 N. George St. For more information on showtimes call the box office at 717-846-1111 or visit

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record

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