Capitol Theatre

201 State Street,
Madison, WI 53703

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Related Websites

Overture Center for the Arts -- Capitol Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox Circuit, Stanley-Warner Theatres

Architects: George W. Leslie Rapp

Firms: Rapp & Rapp

Functions: Movies (Silent), Performing Arts

Styles: Spanish Baroque

Previous Names: Oscar Mayer Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 608.258.4177
Manager: 608.258.4177

Nearby Theaters

CAPITOL Theatre; Madison, Wisconsin.

The Capitol Theatre opened on 21st January 1928. It was first a Fox house, then later operated by RKO Stanley Warner.

In 1980 it became part of the Madison Civic Centre and was re-named Oscar Mayer Theatre. It has now reverted back to its original name of ‘Capitol’ and Overture Center for the Arts. Several times a year a silent movie is screened accompanied by the Barton 3 manual 14 ranks organ and the program includes a vaudeville show.

Contributed by Graeme McBain

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

MiltonSmith on July 19, 2009 at 4:47 am

Well, it sort of looks like an old theatre in the auditorium, but its not the old theatre. Its a new auditorium pretty much built to look like an old theatre based off the old theatre that was once there.

Its sad, but oh well, I guess it could have been worse, they could have gutted and gave it the bland look.

ruricius on March 11, 2012 at 10:04 pm

I’ve been carrying around about 15 of the original wall torch lights from the theatre for about 35 years now. In fact i just installed one today… still works (with a bit of WD40 to get the connections apart!). Ralph Mathisen UW ‘69, '73, '79

MiltonSmith on June 2, 2012 at 2:42 am

I just saw this post. Ralph, is there any way you could post a picture of these wall torch lights? If not, could you e-mail me a pic?

LeslieB on January 24, 2014 at 7:28 pm

In 1955, Ben Marcus bought the theatre. It had 2,250 seats. At that time, 2 stores occupied the first floor of the building. In 1956, he sold it to Stanley-Warner Theatres, which had been operating under a lease arrangement.

Trolleyguy on July 22, 2016 at 10:22 pm

The Capitol is currently undergoing an exterior refurbishment. Matching bricks have been located from demolition sites, and now the search is on for the blade marquee. It was supposedly put into storage in the 70s, but no one seems to know where. It would be a nice complement to the new sign on the Orpheum Theatre across the street.

DavidZornig on July 30, 2018 at 4:36 pm

1939 photo added via Mike Mase Mason.

Justwideman on September 16, 2021 at 2:49 pm

It’s a shame there is no sign on it anymore like the old pics. Sidewalk trees are blocking it as well and will only grow bigger and block the view of this amazing building even more.

Trolleyguy on October 1, 2022 at 3:46 pm

Duck Soup Cinema has returned for Halloween: Duck Soup

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