Capitol Theatre

326 Monroe Street,
Passaic, NJ 07055

Unfavorite 9 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 156 comments

DavidZornig on March 1, 2023 at 8:55 pm

Facebook group dedicated to the Capitol Theatre: Capitol Theatre, Passaic Memories!

rivest266 on November 15, 2018 at 5:04 pm

April 6th, 1973 grand opening ad as Capitol Cinema (showing adult movies) posted.

DavidZornig on November 11, 2015 at 1:57 am

Image added courtesy of Gerri Wever Apostolos. 1978 line to purchase Bruce Springsteen tickets.

slip on January 29, 2015 at 11:29 am

roscomouse, I’m interested in using a blueprint of the Capitol Theater in my upcoming Encyclopedia Of Jerry Garcia Music Venues. Please email me at .

roscomouse on June 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm

You will find the best available chronological list of concerts on this page,

There are some interesting photos and plans here: if you follow the links at the bottom of the page.

If you explore the whole site you will find concert programs, posters and other interesting things.

Unfortunately, I have not had the time to develop and expand the site yet, but that too will come.

Robert Kratky
Robert Kratky on June 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

Hi, Perhaps I haven’t read through all the posts here yet, but I was wondering is there an archive that might provide a chronological list of the groups and musicians who played the Capitol through the years? Pictures of posters?

nolanfinb on September 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I had to sign up to answer kittykat … I was Googling “who remembers the Treasure Trove in downtown Passaic?” so I got this hit. I grew up in Clifton (graduated 1974)and we always went to The Treasure Trove in downtown Passaic. That was the coolest store we knew. You would have been working there when I was just a patron. I also remember a great small shoe store that was close to it, maybe even next door or right around the block. We used to buy our funky platform shoes there to wear with our skinny jeans when they came out. My first concert at The Capitol Theatre was Alice Cooper with his “Dead Babies” Tour. I do remember how creepy the Montauk Theatre was to have to walk past. Passaic was just starting to go downhill during that point in time. I remember a couple times having to run home after concerts from The Capitol Theatre, we were too young to drive then.

kittykat1234 on July 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I used to live in Rutherford, actually had my HS graduation at the Rivoli Theatre (1971,Rutherford High) But I had worked across the street from the Capitiol (IN PASSAIC) during my senior year and for about 7 years after at the “TREASURE TROVE” Head shop. As a young teenage girl, I used to HATE walking past he “Montauk” theatre(anyone remember that?) which at the time was showing porno flicks. I’M LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO REMEMBER THE TREASURE TROVE, IT WAS ABOUT 3 OR 4 STORES PAST THE MONTAUK.

gd14lawn on May 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Some of the audio recordings and one video are avilable at:

roscomouse on March 15, 2010 at 10:48 am

Sepia prints were usually copies of bluelines and postdate blue prints, which would make my Sandblom blueprint of the proscenium older than Preiskel’s longitudinal drawing. The drawing is accurate from my recollection of the building while I worked there from 1971 through 1986. So Sandblom must have been involved right at the beginning. Perhaps Preiskel had some sort of business arrangement with Sandblom’s office in NYC, drafting for instance. Or, perhaps, Sandblom had some special expertise that Preiskel wanted or needed or Sandblom was originally commissioned to design the theatre before Preiskel took over. I do not have easy access to my prints right now, but I believe that Sandblom’s drawing is significantly more elegant than the actual theatre was. Unfortunately these three prints are the only drawings that I have.

I believe that we had a staff theatre buff when I worked there. He may have acquired the prints from Dick Carroll mentioned somewhere above on this page, or know what became of them. He may also still be employed by John Scher, so I’ll make an inquiry and let you know what happens. This mystery is intriguing. Though the Capitol was by no means a spectacular theatre, it was definitely different.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 15, 2010 at 4:19 am

There is a biographical sketch of Abram Preiskel in a 1922 book called “History of Passaic and Its Environs” by William Winfield Scott (it can be read online at Internet Archive or Open Library.) It says that Preiskel studied civil engineering and architecture at the University of Michigan, and established his practice at Passaic in 1910 upon being certified as an architect by the State of New Jersey. The book also said that, as of 1922, “…he is engaged in specializing in the construction of theater buildings.”

I haven’t found any items in Boxoffice specifically naming Abe Preiskel as a theater manager, but he was a co-owner of the Capitol (with Harry Hecht) at least during part of the 1930s, and later a co-owner of the Central (with John Ackerman) when it first opened in 1941. He was also co-owner (with Hecht) of the Rivoli in Rutherford for some time. Hecht and Ackerman appear to have been the partners directly involved in management.

As for Charles Sandblom’s work on the Capitol, I’ve been unable to find anything about it from any of the sources available on the Internet.

roscomouse on March 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Regarding the architect, I mentioned earlier on this page that I have an undated reverse sepia longitudinal section by Abraham Preiskill and an older, original blueprint of the proscenium arch by C.A. Sandblom, Architect, 19 West 45th Street in Manhattan. I also have a blueline print of the alarm system by E.P. Reid, Inc. These prints may have been some of the prints that Rosie mentioned somewhere above. If I understand Joe Vogel correctly, Preiskel’s name is on the sepia print as the manager rather than the architect. I’ve never scene an architectural print with the buyer or manager’s name instead of the architect’s name. Both for sure, but if it’s only one it would be the architect. So where does Sandblom fit in?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 14, 2010 at 3:32 am

The name of the architect is currently misspelled above. Note CT user Passaic’s comment of March 4, 2007. Boxoffice mentions Abe Preiskel a few times (and once misspells his name as Preskill.) The magazine never mentions him as an architect but only as a theater operator. Passaic’s comment also attributes the design of the Montauk Theatre to Preiskel.

This 1916 book attributes the design of a proposed (but as yet unnamed) theater to be built at Lexington and Main Avenues to Abraham Preiskel. I wonder if that project could have been the theater listed at CT as the Fine Arts? A 1985 Rutherford News-Leader article attributes the design of that city’s Rivoli Theatre (listed here as the George W. Newman Theatre) to Preiskel.

I’ve found a number of references to Preiskel on the Internet, but with different first names. Boxoffice most often refers to him by the diminutive “Abe,” but other usually sources say either Abraham or Abram, with Abram being somewhat more frequent. I think Abram Preiskel is probably the correct form of his name.

EcRocker on March 14, 2010 at 12:03 am

Wow it’s been that long since I have been to this page. Stu 62 mentions See Factor doing sound. Maybe i am getting on in years and to many brain cells have died out but I do not recall Bob See and See Factor doing audio for gigs till some time in the lat e 70’s and early 80’s. I was just on the See Factor site and from what i see they do very little in the audio field now.
So can someone verify that See Factor did sound back then

I did go to a show at the Central one night after a show at the Capitol and I don’t recall who was doing sound but Ric-Lo was doing the lights.

What a long strange trip it’s been.

And since I am in here
I have started a group on Facebook dedicated to the NY Academy of Music.
Feel free to join in talk about your memories. Post your links and pictures too

BobFurmanek on November 17, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Thanks for that info on the Central’s brief run as a rock venue. Would you mind posting that info on the Central’s page?

Allow me to make one correction. The Central was never part of the Keith vaudeville circuit. It was an independent in it’s early 40’s, big band days.

roscomouse on November 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Well, it seems that I may never have worked with you but I certainly thank you for your enlightening contribution to this page. Equal to your immodesty, however, I gotta remind you that Billboard ranked John Scher’s Capitol Theatre as Numero Uno under 6,000 seats and that some FE staff including A.J. Geigerich, Arthur Berman and others definitely set up shop and remained at the Capitol. Also, my lighting staff, primarily from Stony Brook, which beat the FE to many of the greatest acts of the day, also stayed at the Capitol. Having said that, there’s room for all of us who share these great memories. So, being somewhat Web-challenged, do you have more info on the Tower somewhere in this cinema treasures website? One more thing, I’m seeing more and more young people discovering the music, philosophy and love that we seemed to share in the 60s and 70s via my website ( and hope that you are seeing the same…

swarthmoresoul on November 17, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I just found this site and the interesting discussion about the Capitol Theater in Passaic. Here is the info about the Central Theater, which was located around the corner.
In Spring, 1971, my brother, Rick Green, and I attended an Alice Cooper show at the Central. Although the concert was sparsely attended, we could see that the theater was perfect for rock shows. It was an Art Deco palace that had been part of the Keith vaudeville circuit. Seating capacity was about 2,900.
The first show promoted by Rick was the Allman Brothers at 8 and 11pm on Friday, September 10, 1971. We hired production and staff alumni from the Fillmore East. See Factor did sound. Candace Brightman did lights. Arthur Berman, ‘Fat’ Joe Golden, and Kim Yarborough worked security. The Allmans were the hottest band in America at the time, and both shows sold out well in advance. I still have some handbills from the Allmans shows. Tickets were $4.50 and $5.50. (It cost me $85 for a ticket to see ABB this past summer.)
We quickly followed up with concerts starring the Beach Boys, Savoy Brown, and Pink Floyd. We still have the Pink Floyd contract in our archive. The band earned $1750 to headline, and that fee included a quad PA system they brought with them.
Shortly thereafter, John Scher purchased the Capitol Theater around the corner. The Capitol was about 10% larger than the Central, and Scher was a tough competitor. He was also tighter with Premier Artists, the #1 booking agency.
In the Spring of 1972, we promoted a run of Dave Mason dates. Our stage manager, Billy Stevenson (now deceased) was from Upper Darby, PA, and he suggested we look at the Tower Theater there. The Tower was even better than the Central, and with the great reception our Dave Mason/Buzzy Linhart opening night (6/14/72) there, we decided to move our whole operation to Philly.
This may sound immodest, but our shows at the Tower for the next 3 and a half years made it the #1 venue in America. We bought all our FE alumni with us, and we emphasized treating our paying customers as guests. At the end of 1975, the AM Ellis chain that owned the Tower informed us that our much larger competitor, Electric Factory, had bought the theater. We spent the next 5 years suing EFC for an anti-trust violation, and eventually settled the case in 1981 for a tidy sum.
Rick and I are still calling ourselves the Midnight Sun Company. These days we manage 6 bar bands here in the Philly suburbs. We’d love to hear from any and all the great folks that we worked with back in the Central and Tower days. My e-mail is

roscomouse on November 1, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Oh, and you are absolutely right East Coast Rocker. As the early years flew by, more and more bands insisted on cramming their own oversized lighting systems into the Capitol. At first they would augment our system and then they would just take out the shoehorn and we’d be lucky if there was enough room left for the audience…

Btw, I stopped being notified when new messages are posted here. Is anyone else having that problem? Oh wait—how would you know?

roscomouse on November 1, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Matt Miller from Stony Brook University? Thank you very much for trying to teach me how to play that Hagstrom bass that I still have…

MattMiller on April 8, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Dear all
I’m trying to locate some old friends; Louis and Susan who managed the Capitol Theater in PORT CHESTER circa 1970

Thanks in advance
Matt Miller

PS Moyssi: get in touch :–)

EcRocker on March 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Oh yeah I agree 1000% Yes that was three zero’s. I can recall a night in 1977 when Skynyrd played the Palladium (Academy) on their One more from the road tour. This was the pre veri-lite days. The band always put on a kick ass show. This time around was nothing different except maybe for the lighting. Off the top of my head I can’t give you a realistic count of how many Par-64’s or specials they had set up but as far as I was concenred it was over done. That night I was running the Super Arc and from my vantage I had a great view of the stage.
To make things relevant to what you were talking about with Triumvirat. A couple of days later they were scheduled to play the Nassua Colliseum. However this at this show they were the opening act for the Doobies. Case in point is that since they were the opening act they were limited as to what they could do with the lights. As with your situation they had basic stage washes and as luck would have it a few specials because they worked around the specials set up for the Doobies. The ironic part of this was that the Doobies doing an arena tour had about half the lighting then Skynyrd was touring with. To make a long story short the show looked better with the little that they had to use then with the system they were touring with.

I am sure there were some shows at the Capitol where rather then using the in house lighting they insisted on using their own. Maybe I am wrong here but I think at one or two shows i worked the lifts were set up on the floor in front of the stage rather then the stage it self.

Just for shits and giggles here is the link to a Google Satellite view of what is now where the Capitol used to stand.

View link

roscomouse on March 19, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Hey Mike, Bob’s comment was much more fun! And of course, brevity is the soul of wit, so I shall proceed to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that I am entirely witless.

We have no disagreement about Woodstock. It was certainly a defining moment in our history. Maybe I’m kicking myself for not accepting a gig there. Maybe I just didn’t want to participate in something that was so clearly disorganized that people were likely to die as a result. In a group that big, however, nobody could blame the promoter for what statistically would have happened in that large a group anywhere on earth. Maybe we’re all lamenting our loss of what was an ocean of hippie heaven, love, and great music just before everything went totally commercial. Disco anyone? Nothing spiritual in that! It all happened and we’re all still talking about it for good reason.

There’s only one thing that I’m hesitantly sure about. It was Terry Hanley’s awful but cheap intercom that compares so unfavorably to Chaos (incredibly costly but worked) and Clark (on beyond incredibly costly but also worked). Wait—maybe not Clark—but whoever it was who provided noise-cancelling intercom technology to airline pilots at the time.

But please never, ever, EVER imagine that I would complain about not having fancy enough equipment (other than ear-saving intercoms). My professional pride then and now is to do the most with the least: The opposite of what happened to the music industry. Time for a story with roots at the Capitol?

My personal favorite tour was Triumvirat, a stationary German trio consisting of a keyboardist (10 keyboards ranging from organ and synthesizers to a Steinway concert grand), a percussionist and a guitarist who didn’t move anything but his fingers. This was a terrific German synthesizer band opening for the double return tour of Jefferson Starship and Fleetwood Mac. Management—whose other band was Pink Floyd—was basically afeared of a rain of day-old veggies, but they had a miniscule budget and knew who could make it work. Point man was John Scher, and I thank him for that.

As the opener for that tour, what really made this an interesting challenge is that we had about 10 feet in front of the other bands' mountain of equipment; we had 20 minutes to set up and 10 to strike. So, since we had a stationary band, I designed a lighting system comprising just 16 par cans and 3 special effects. Catch this.

The par cans and wiring were welded and otherwise permanently fixed inside 3 huge steel sculptures or alien winged creatures designed and built for this purpose by Larry White. We put 6 floor lights just in front of the sculptures, gelled in Roscolene 877, pointing up like a flashlight underneath someone’s Halloween mask. We added 3 custom floor-standing mirror wheels (not balls!) which were each lit by 2 par cans mounted on mike stands. And just for good measure, we (Larry White) made a false top for the Steinway. It was metal, shaped to match the original top and fastened with a hinge in its place. It was a giant baking tray about 1-2" deep, which we filled about a ¼-inch deep with gasoline. On top of that was a fine wire mesh on which we liberally sprinkled about 6 ounces of photographer’s flash powder. Here’s how it worked.

20 minutes and counting: Our crew carries three 12-to-16 foot high steel sculptures in from the truck. Union hands who had never before been seen (but always paid) materialized with incredulous, curious looks on their faces. Very engaged, they got those 3 sculptures pinned to their pre-focused marks on the floor and plugged in like greased lighting. The mirror wheels were about the size of small suitcases, so they were no big deal, although the piano was. I have no idea who took care of the fire marshals, but we never had any trouble that I should have been aware of.

Show time: The house lights dim. BLACK as I could make it. The sculptures, which were shrouded so that nobody could see or imagine those great winged creatures, lost their shrouds in the darkness. On cue, the keyboardist played a deep organ chord as the the floor lights slowly came up, casting enormous shadows of the 3 sculptures high above them. When you fade lights up slowly, the light seems to grow from the instrument upward, so your eyes just naturally started at the feet and watched the sculptures reveal themselves as you looked higher and higher and on beyond their heads into the shadows where may have lurked the Phantom of the Opera.

But, just before your head tipped over backward, the organist changed the chord and all 3 sculptures, all of which had 1000W par cans for eyeballs, each pair focused on one musician below, bumped up full, snapping the audience’s head back down to this German synthesizer band that they’d never heard of. The band took off with a Starship/Mac crowd standing on its feet within the first two notes of their set. That is the definition of heaven for a showman.

At some point appropriate to each night’s performance, perhaps when the audience sat back down again, sculpture lights were dimmed and the mirror wheel lights were turned on while the wheels rotated slowly. Rotating faster and faster as the band poured it on. Each mirror was 10" square, so the shafts of light that they created, arcing over the band like spokes of 3 giant rotating wheels, were palpable as no smaller light beams could ever be.

And the band played on at warp speed, but they only had 20 minutes so their set flashed by like lightning to the mother of all endings. Remember the gasoline and flash-powder topped Steinway? The last key of the piano was wired to an electric ignition so that the keyboardist could only blame himself if he blew himself up. While the band was going full tilt, the keyboardist ran his fingers from one end of the keyboard to the other, ducking beneath the piano just as he hit the last key.

You could feel the theatre floor (and your stomach) pulse with the blinding explosion. As eyes began to focus again, all the audinece could see was a concert grand engulfed in 10-foot high flames. The band had run off stage, doused themselves with ice water, and run back for an ENCORE demanded by standing ovation. The encore was an elegant piano ballad which left everyone gently smiling. No need for any effect at all.

Needless to say, we were not heros to the stars, but OUR guys got one helluva bang out of 28 lights, 3 steel sculptures, 3 suit-cased mirror wheels and an exploding Steinway. Cheap, light and fast. Union crews actually volunteering for hands-on work. And the audience loved our band.

Anyway, there’s a few folk around this and related websites who were there and did the bulk of the tour and—for those who insist on this board relating only to the Capitol—that’s where we rehearsed the lighting sculptures for the tour. By the way, they were built in Maryland and they were the “Fearless Fog Flyers”. Thank you again, Larry White—still a great sculptor and one of the best follow spot ops ever.

I’m bored by today’s predictable lighting even as I’m thrilled by the technology…

EcRocker on March 19, 2009 at 6:37 pm

Moyssi if you went to that web site and read through it all it was a political fireball. Lack of money. A town that went through everything they could to block it from the original site. How they had less then a month to pull this off. I think the funniest thing is when they were going to rent out Yasgars Farm for $50 a day. Max saw what was happening and he was not about to get hoodwinked. Like I said there will never be another event like Woodstock. Most of the tribute concerts done in the name of Woodstock were done to make money off the name. Then the 1999 one held at the former Griffis Air Force base may have been good logisticaly where you have a flat level concrete base to erect a stage but not real good for thousands of people to sit on or standing on for hours on end when the temps got in to the 90’s and the concrete temps were well over 100. Of course if you look at it from a technical point of view the Sound Lighting and stage were far more advanced and refined then it was in 1969 with Bill Hanleys sound system and Tom Fields lights.

In contrast to the more grass-roots nature of the original Woodstock festival, Woodstock 1999 was conceived and executed as a commercial venture with dozens of corporate sponsors, and included the presence of vendor “malls” and modern acoutrements such as ATMs and e-mail stations.[4]

View link

Here is another article that even mentions John Scher as a copromotor

Critics later decried the use of the Woodstock brand name for such an event as “crass commercialization” and decried “concert organizers who gouged the kids with grossly overpriced water, beer, and food”.[5] Tickets for the event were priced at $150 plus service charges,[1] at the time considered high for a festival of this type.[6]

Tom Morello, the politically-active guitarist for festival performers Rage Against the Machine later “suggested an affinity between the looters at the event.”[7]

BobFurmanek on March 19, 2009 at 4:11 pm

At least the heavy rains gave many audience members a much needed bath!