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Capitol Theatre (Yakima, Washington) facts for kids

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Capitol Theatre
Mercy Theatre
CapitolTheatreExterior.jpg
The exterior of the Capitol Theatre
Address 19 S. 3rd St.
Yakima, Washington
United States
Owner City of Yakima
Operator Capitol Theatre Committee
Capacity 1,500
Current use Performing Arts Center
Construction
Opened 1920
Reopened 1978
Rebuilt 1975

The Capitol Theatre is a performing arts venue in Yakima, Washington. With its location in downtown Yakima and 1,500 seating capacity, it serves as the primary performing arts facility for the Yakima region.

History

The Theatre was designed by B. Marcus Priteca and opened on April 5, 1920 as the Mercy Theatre, named after its owner, Frederick Mercy, Sr, who earned his wealth in the theater business. At the time of its construction, the Mercy Theatre was the largest theatre in the Pacific Northwest. The theatre originally featured vaudeville acts and is currently home to the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Town Hall Series, Community Concerts, as well as traveling Broadway musicals.

In 1972 the Allied Arts Council and the City of Yakima began working together to transfer the building to public ownership. Part of this effort included successfully placing the theatre on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Shortly after ownership was transferred to the City, the building was severely damaged by a fire in 1975. The building was severely damaged by the blaze, except for the stagehouse, which was virtually untouched, with only the walls of the audience section remaining standing; one of the few items saved from the fire was a Steinway grand piano, which had been signed by Henry Steinway, the president of Steinway and Sons. Subsequently, the theatre was painstakingly renovated to its original 1920s state, although a basement with restrooms and a meeting room was added. Famed artist, Anthony Heinsbergen —who had painted the original murals on the Theatre's ceiling as his first paid commission—came out of retirement to repaint the dome. This was his last commissioned work. The rebuilt Theatre was completed in 1978 and the gala re-opening ceremony, which featured a performance by Bob Hope, was sold out.

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