Capitol Theatre is located on 149 Westchester Avenue in Port Chester, NY, between Pearl and Broad Streets. It is a historic movie theater built in 1926, and was used as a concert space from the 1970s to ‘90s, including legendary concerts by The Grateful Dead. In the twenty-first century, it was used as a catering and special events facility, before being renovated in partnership with Bowery Presents (which runs Terminal 5, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Bowery Ballroom, and Mercury Lounge, as well as holding concerts elsewhere) in 2012. It reopened on September 4th with a performance by Bob Dylan.
Capitol Theatre in located in Westchester County (and Avenue), near the border with Connecticut. However, it is an easy & fast ride up from the city on Metro-North (and only a block-and-a-half from the train station), especially as concerts usually happen right after rush hour, when there are numerous trains running near-direct to Port Chester (usually with just a prior stop in Rye) for people heading home from work. Getting back is not as easy, as trains run roughly on the hour until about 1:00 AM (there is a bar to wait in right there, underneath the tracks, but it’s a sketchy dive…). However, that distance from the city does mean that artists may perform both at Capitol Theatre and a venue in the city proper on a tour – if you don’t get a ticket to the city show, can catch them there (akin to New Jersey’s Wellmont Theatre and Long Island’s Paramount Theatre).
The venue itself is a converted old-timey movie theater, with a large open area in the front and some raised seating in the back (akin to Gramercy Theatre), but also with a balcony. There are also some chairs placed in rows near the back of the large open area – more or less depending on the artist. There is a bar in the back and smaller ones closer to the front on both sides, though the price for drinks are disappointingly not any less than in the city. While a bit cavernous, the sound is good, and the lighting largely depends on the artist (if they bring a light show of their own, it will work out well).
It is still questionable whether the new Capitol Theatre will make it as a venue, so far from the city, so deep in the suburbs. How much do people in Westchester want to see shows? How much money can you make selling drinks to a crowd that mostly drove there (the financial precariousness is probably why the drink prices aren’t less than in the city…)? How willing will people from the city be to head up there (and back down afterwards?)? How many & how many big acts will play there? But while it is around, it’s a nice place to catch a show – even one you might otherwise have missed – as long as you can make it there & back.
149 Westchester Avenue (between Pearl and Broad St.)
By Metro North:
New Haven train to Port Chester – walk 1 and 1/2 blocks west on north side of Westchester Avenue
-Chris Cornell, June 25th, 2016 – photos
Ben Folds Five, “Army”, Port Chester, NY, 10/9/12
Ben Folds Five, “Kate”, Port Chester, NY, 10/9/12
Ben Folds Five, “Brick”, Port Chester, NY, 10/9/12
Ben Folds Five, “Do It Anyway”, Port Chester, NY, 10/9/12
Ben Folds Five, “The Battle of Who Could Care Less”, Port Chester, NY, 10/9/12