Bob Dylan launches revival of storied Port Chester 'Cap' Tuesday
Bob Dylan will raise the curtains at The Capitol Theatre Tuesday, giving a jump-start to the revival of the storied Westchester music venue.
The 86-year-old theater peaked in the '70s with acts that included Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead, but the venue fell out of favor with performers in recent decades and more often served as a catering facility.
However, over the past few months, Capitol Theatre owner Peter Shapiro has invested millions to spruce up the building and upgrade its sound and lighting systems.
Shapiro hopes to recoup that investment with an ambitious booking schedule consisting of an eclectic mix of indie acts like Dirty Projectors and Sleigh Bells, oldies groups like the Steve Miller Band and the Moody Blues and jazz from Herbie Hancock and Galactic.
Plenty of other performance venues exist throughout the region, from the 275-seat Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck to the 1,500-seat Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston. But two Westchester County venues -- the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill and Tarrytown Music Hall -- may be the most affected by The Capitol's return due to the combination of theater size, proximity and programming.
"I'm not really looking at it either way," said Lisa Reiss, director of the Paramount. "It's another theater, and it happens to be on the other side of Westchester County . . . I'm not particularly worried about them, and I'm not worried about competing with them."
Björn Olsson, the executive director at the Music Hall, said it has upgraded its sound and lighting systems this year, but claims the tweaks were planned before news of The Cap's reopening.
"Obviously, we're paying close attention," he said. "We're not changing the way we work in any major way. Maybe we sharpen our tools a little bit. In some sense, we've probably been a part of making this happen, in that we've shown that Westchester is a viable music scene.
"Ultimately, it's good for concert-goers in Westchester," Olsson said. "We're for it."
Shapiro said he believes The Cap could attract fans beyond the tri-state area.
"With the location on I-95, and the train station, in some ways the location is even better than New York City," said Shapiro, who also helped found the Brooklyn Bowl bowling and concert venue. "The Cap, if it works, could become something that attracts people from across the East Coast."
That will change, however, in the near future, according to Shapiro.
"We have some comedy (acts) confirmed that we're announcing shortly," he said.