PORT CHESTER, N.Y. When Howie Ravikoff's father Marvin purchased Port Chesters Capitol Theatre back in 1983, it was boarded up and there were holes in the ceiling.
"He thought he could bring the building back to life," Ravikoff said standing in front of the stage where the orchestra pit once was. "Everyone said he was crazy."
This time around Howie doesn't feel quite as much opposition as his father.
"There's not a week that goes by that we don't get a call from someone asking about shows or when we'll open up again," Ravikoff said.
Now that the Capitol has publically announced its reopening, Ravikoff said the praise has poured in from all angles.
"Everyone is really excited for the changes," Ravikoff said. "People are dying to come back, and dying to come for the first time."
The Capitol Theatre was built in 1926 by famed theater architect Thomas Lamb. The 1,835-capacity theater has hosted concerts by Pink Floyd, Derek The Dominos, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, David Bowie, Santana, and many others.
While the last public show was played back in 1997 by the Rolling Stones, Ravikoff said there have been some big names brought in by private parties since then. However, Ravikoff said the theater's sound systems are still primitive.
"We've never outfitted the house for live performances in the modern day," Ravikoff said. "The building is an historical landmark with specific limitations, but the additional installments won't affect that."
Ravikoff confessed that bringing music back to the Capitol was something that has been on his and his father's mind since it closed its doors nearly 15 years ago. The tricky part was finding the right man to get those doors back open. Ravikoff found that man in Peter Shapiro.
"It has been an ongoing process when we introduced to Peter," Howie said. "He was the best person we ever met to do this."
Right now Ravikoff is finalizing plans for a $2 million renovation focused on bringing the theater into the 21st century. Although the Capitol hasn't accepted any bookings yet, Ravikoff is excited about reopening in 2012.
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