The Grateful Dead played the Capitol Theater in Portchester. So did Janis Joplin and Santana. But that was 40 years ago. In the 1980s, it didn’t house anyone but some derelict pigeons, and in recent years, it was rented out mostly to host bat mitzvahs and other private events.
Enter Peter Shapiro, a 39-year-old founder of the Brooklyn Bowl. In 2011, he bought the Capitol Theater, which is widely known in the rock world for its incredible acoustics, and announced plans to bring the theater back to life. It was a coup for Portchester, which is slowly trying to define itself as a dining and cultural hotspot in the county. (Bar Taco and Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge and adjacent Tarry Market is also in town.)
Well, here’s a reason to start planning more date nights.
The Capitol Theater already has an impressive lineup of acts: In coming months, you can book tickets to The Roots,Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Ben Folds Five, Blues Traveler, Indigo Girls, Al Green and even the Steve Miller Band. Opening night’s top billing though goes to Bob Dylan, who will play at the theater on September 4.
Shapiro spent $2 million renovating the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. He added an arena-size lighting system, 10 high-def projectors and an advanced sound system. The seats are outfit in plush red velvet. Its location is prime — it’s one block from the Portchester Metro North stop.
As Shapiro told the New York Times: “You can’t create a rock palace. You can only reinvent one, and I am fortunate to have one. This is a queen. This is not a princess. That means giving her the best sound available in the world.”
The Capitol Theater, 149 Westchester Avenue, Portchester; 914-937-4126