Looking to strengthen relevancy among audiences of today and with a vision for the demands of future trends, the Capitol Civic Centre embarked on a campaign to raise $3.1 million. The project scope addressed significant improvements including new house seating, additional restrooms, an expanded lobby, and improvements to enhance the customer experience. Additionally, the necessary infrastructure improvements were made.

The Beginning: Designed by local architect William J. Raueber and built by Arthur and John George of Manitowoc, the theatre opened June 16, 1921, as “Ascher Brothers’ Capitol Theatre.” Following an extensive renovation in 1987 by an army of local professional craftspeople and volunteers, the theatre reopened as the Capitol Civic Centre, Inc.  Led by the efforts of community leaders including Ron Kaminski and The Masquers, Inc., restoration of the then movie house was made possible with a lead grant from the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation, Inc.

Performing Arts Hub: The elegant 1,003-seat theatre presently serves as the home of 14 local performing arts organizations. In addition to local performance organizations, national professional touring artists perform under the umbrella of the Marquee Season and by independent promoters. The Capitol also provides educational activities and hosts civic events. While modern in programming and technology, the Capitol maintains its classic design, befitting its 1921 origin as a vaudeville palace. Renovated in 2012 and 2019, facilities complement the theatre’s design and historic footprint in downtown Manitowoc.

Community Asset: The value of the Capitol resonates far beyond providing a stage for performing arts and a venue for events and meetings. The Capitol is a prime example of the economic value of historic preservation and serves as an anchor for activity in the heart of historic downtown Manitowoc, the seat of Manitowoc County. More than 40,000 people attend performances and activities at the Capitol each year.

Thank you to our campaign leadership, Dr. John Stern (Act Two Projects Director), and our campaign co-chairs Julia Angst, Tom Angst, Ann Salutz, Tim Salutz, and Brennan Seehafer.

In looking back on the amazing accomplishments of the Capital Idea fundraising campaign (2012-13) and building projects (2013), we extend our sincere gratitude to all of the supporters who made the renovations, repairs and upgrades possible. The following cornerstone donations were particularly important in generating momentum in this $1.2 million campaign, and we are proud to acknowledge them here again:

  • Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation
  • Dr. Kenneth & Amy Katz (exterior renovations)
  • The Manitowoc Company (auditorium renovations)
  • Dr. Joe & Eleanor DiRaimondo
  • Tim & Ann Salutz (Salutz Family Lobby)
  • The Scott Mertens Family (Mertens Lounge)

Lights, camera, action! Thoughts from the Grand Reopening Gala…

On Saturday evening, Oct. 5, 2013, guests were welcomed to the Grand Reopening for the Capitol Civic Centre, our “Jewel of the Lakeshore!”

There has not been a night of celebration like this since the fall of 1987, following the original restoration of the Capitol from a crumbling movie theater to a grand performance palace. Now, 26 years later, in response to the Capitol being used-well and used-hard by more than a million visitors, the Capitol has gone through a major renovation and improvement project — $1.2 million in repairs and upgrades – and a fundraising campaign that made it all happen.

This night, we acknowledged donors, admired the work of the contractors, and celebrated a place called home for many of our performing arts partners. And what a night is was… a night of which our patrons had the opportunity to enjoy the sounds of verse, song, dance, and music.

The emcees for the evening were Mayor Justin Nickels and Honorary Campaign Co-Chair, John Jagemann, better known as ‘the judge” of the Courthouse Pub. They made us laugh and they made each other laugh, which of course, made us laugh even harder. What a team they made! We wouldn’t be surprised if they take their show on the road…well, on the road in Manitowoc County!

Our arts partners must again be thanked for the work they put into their performances and their commitment to the Capitol Civic Centre.

And a huge thank you (or shout-out, if you will) goes to Stage Manager, Cathy DeLain and crew, Backstage Director and Traffic Cop, Melyssa Behnke, and Technical Director, Rick Klein and crew. These folks were able to take the idea, the notes, the flow and the groups and make it all work. Bravo to them!

“The jewel of the lakeshore is alive and welcomes our patrons to a wonderful season in a wonderful renovated home.”  – Peggy Pitz, Associate Campaign Administrator

“The Capitol is a staple of downtown Manitowoc. Providing culture, arts, music and laughter  –  the Capitol truly is the Jewel of the Lakeshore, providing citizens with world-class entertainment in one of the most beautiful venues in all of Northeast Wisconsin.”  – Justin M. Nickels, Mayor of Manitowoc

“I had a unique view of the Capital the night of the Gala, and I can tell you from the stage that the building looked awesome. [I’m] also impressed with the new sound and lighting controls. A job well done; money well spent; impressive community support.”  – John “the judge” Jagemann, Honorary Campaign Co-Chair

“I am so impressed with the improvements in the Kadow Room. It’s so elegant with the rich carpets and gold gilded trim on the walls. The bathrooms are stunning with  the black onyx counters and sinks and silver mirrors. And no standing in line! I thought I was in a five star hotel. Look out American Club!”  – Kathleen Galas, arts partner and Capitol Member

“The CCC renovation is spectacular! The Mertens/Kadow room is a total transformation, impressive and really beautiful. I thought ‘wow’ this would be the perfect spot for a special occasion party, a small wedding, or business gathering. The lobby is much more welcoming and open. I know there were many changes and improvements made that are not visible but very necessary after 25 years of operation.” – Lauretta Krcma-Olson, Capitol Board of Directors Member