Capitol Theatre

35 Bank Street,
New London, CT 06320

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: M & P Theaters, Paramount Pictures Inc.

Architects: W.H. Lowe

Styles: Neo-Classical

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News About This Theater

Original ticket

The Capitol Theatre was opened on November 21, 1921 with “The Child Thou Gavest Me” plus vaudeveville. By 1941 it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Mullins & Pinanski. It has been abandoned since it closed in 1974.

The theater lobby could still be seen through the glass doors and had the ticket booth intact. It sat vacant for many years and was then converted into a hotel, which had closed by 2022.

Contributed by Roger Katz

Recent comments (view all 34 comments)

nickelodeon on July 20, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Growing up in the area, I attended the Capitol to see movies as a youth. My first recollection was Its A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I remember entering the lobby, going up marble steps with brass railings. When Jimmy Durante crashed and kicked the bucket it scared my little brother who was 3 or 4 and he started crying. He wouldn’t stop and my mother (unlike anyone today) gathered us up and took us home. Social courtesy at one’s expense. Can you imagine? Another memory I have is going to see Mark of the Devil in the early ‘70s in my early teens. Ushers handed out vomit bags, which really worried me (I STILL have mine!) because I thought it would be horrible and I didnt want to throw up! Glad to say it went unused. I recall a few people running out during the movie. Grossing audiences out is now de rigueur, sorry to say. It wasnt too long after this the Capitol closed down.
I always go by the theater when Im back in New London. Bank St. and State St. are loaded with history. Many theaters have been there the last century and more.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 12, 2011 at 4:02 am

The 2002 article about the Capitol Theatre published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to which I linked a few years ago, has been relocated this link. It has two photos, neither of which can be enlarged, unfortunately.

Dismal news about the Capitol appeared in this newspaper article published on January 26, 2011. The company which bought the theater from the City of New London for one dollar in 2006 not only failed to carry out the promised renovations, but has lost the building due to non-payment of taxes. The Capitol has been sold at auction to a New York City developer whose intentions are unknown.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 3, 2012 at 5:11 am

This 2010 article in The Day gave the name of the architect of the Capitol Theatre as W. H. Lowe. I’ve been unable to find anything about Connecticut architects named either W. H. Lowe or W. H. Lane on the Internet, but I suspect that the author of the article got the name right.

rokcomx on June 3, 2012 at 5:15 am

During its final six months until it closed after the summer 1974 season, the Capitol showed X-rated features at night, G-rated kiddie matinees on weekends, and even hosted several rock concerts, including Delaney & Bonnie. This made for some surreal advertising blocks in the local New London Day newspaper!

DonaldKirk on June 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Again the Capitol is up for sale (June 2012). I’m International Media Manager for an international humanitarian & entertainment nonprofit.

In 2005 we tried to buy the Capitol; and the Garde blocked the sale, by saying (to a CA property owner) they wanted to buy the building and land of a theatre we just opened in Dunsmuir, CA.

Learning that the Capitol is again for sale, I have contacted my boss to see if funds are available for us to finally acquire the Capitol.

There are a few major problems that would have to be adressed 1) Asbestos 2) Back Entrance 3) restoring artwork 4) any roof repair work the city didn’t do 5) adding 1 or 2 elevators, plus electrical, plumbing, ADA Restrooms, etc. I cannot find any pictures of it with a marquee. I did have interior pic’s the city sent; but they were wiped out when my hard-drive crashed. I’m in Medford, Oregon at the moment; but we have an assistant to the CEO near New London. If my boss allows us to get the Capitol, we’ll need a lot of volunteers to help get the place in shape. If we don’t, it will cost a few $ million more than we probably can come up with. A lot of the high cost, is high dollar paid construction labor. We will gladly give regular volunteers some free admissions to events at the Capitol (again, we have to get it first). my emil is If anyone has any of those interior pic’s (when in use, or in need of restoration), please forward them to me. Thanks! Don

DonaldKirk on April 13, 2013 at 10:59 am

I was recently contacted by one of the current owners, asking me to purchase the Capitol. I told him that for it’s condition he was asking way too much. He then asked for a counter-offer; which after discussing it with several people in the know of it’s condition, I told him $0.00. I have a number of fairly recent pictures of it’s interior; plus knowing that it has a small stage, which cannot host Broadway type shows, I felt it is too far gone. Some of us estimated $12 – $15 million restoration cost. Mr. Kwan could not see that much; but he was fuguring costs to make it useable as something else (4 walls); and he estimated a fraction of what it’d cost to make it back into a 1730 seat live-stage “Grand” theatre.

Sorry folks, but it is highly unlikely that the Capitol will ever be restored as a grand theatre.

DonaldKirk on July 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

If anyone in the area is interested in raising money to acquire the Capitol, a lot of the restoration costs could be eliminated using volunteers for much of the work; and donated materials. Just buying and replacing the seats alone will cost $1.75 million. This is about ½ the cost Mr. Kwan thinks the total restoration can be done for. I produce concerts and festivals; and with local volunteer help, hold fundraisers that will raise big $’s (I have the best Jimi Hendrix or John Fogerty impersonators; and some 1960’s recording groups working for me). They often will do a show for the large tax write-off they get. If interested, get your friends involved and then contact my production company.

DonaldKirk on October 12, 2015 at 7:25 am

I have now put a GoFundMe online to raise the money to purchase the Capitol from current owners. When I talked to one a few months ago he stated $200,000.00, but asked what I’d offer. Lets get some decent funds, then recontact him. Thanks!

DonaldKirk on October 12, 2015 at 7:46 am

rivest266 on July 18, 2023 at 6:32 am

Opened on November 21st, 1921. Grand opening ads posted.

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