The Capitol Theater is flashing back to life today after lying dormant in Burlington’s downtown historic district for the last 35 years.
Through its efforts over the last seven years, the Capitol Theater Foundation has managed to raise enough money to reignite the magic of the historic art-deco theater and open its doors back up to the community.
That journey, which began in 2003 with a small group of local citizens selling light bulbs for the theater’s marquee, has culminated in a nearly $3.4 million undertaking.
“It is a valuable project for the area downtown,” said Keith Schulz, president of the Capitol Theater board of directors. “I hope people pay attention and become attracted to what it is we’re offering…”
Anderson recalls the inspiration for the foundation’s fundraising efforts, which in 2010 culminated in the “Bring Back the Magic” campaign managed by fundraising company Convergent Nonprofit Solutions. Started in 2005, those fundraising efforts ultimately enabled the foundation to purchase the Capitol Theater and the adjacent building, which is used for offices, dressing rooms and storage space.
She was watching the film “The Majestic,” starring Jim Carrey. The movie takes place in a small town in the early 1950s and tells the story of a man’s efforts to save the town’s old theater. To convince Carrey’s character the theater is worth saving, another character tells him “in a place like this, the magic is all around you.”
“I could relate to that,” Anderson said.
From that bit of cinema was born the “Bring Back the Magic” campaign, and the foundation put itself to work to purchase the Capitol Theater and the building next door.