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Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theater

For the artistically minded, the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theater is a must-see. Since its inauguration on March 21, 1921, with the motion film Dinty, the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theater (previously known as the Capitol Theater) has been an important element of Downtown Clearwater and a historic theater in Clearwater, Florida. Richard B. Baumgardner Center for the Performing Arts has six venues and the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theater is one of them. A total of 750 persons may be accommodated in the theater. The Clearwater News described it as “one of the most beautifully finished playhouses in the South” on March 17, 1921, and it hosted vaudeville stars, war bond rallies, the Miss Florida Pageant, the Clearwater Symphony Orchestra, cinema, and the Royalty Theater Company for the next seventy-four years. The Capitol Theater, which had been saved from demolition in 1995. For many years, the theater suffered, and in 2009, it was on the verge of going out of business. The City Commission decided to buy the building from Charos at this time, and the endeavor was successful. During this period, the city also acknowledged the theater’s historical significance by bestowing a Historic Designation on it. The City of Clearwater thankfully acquired the building and signed a management and operation agreement with Ruth Eckerd Hall. The Capitol Theater received a substantial makeover in 2013, which included the addition of the original 1917 Clearwater News building to the west of the theater and another structure adjacent to it. The renovation resulted in increased seating to 750 people, as well as six private loge boxes, multiple concession stands, a larger lobby, an outdoor balcony that wraps around the building and overlooks the beautiful Clearwater causeway, a VIP lounge, Frenchy’s rooftop terrace, ADA accessibility, and an uncovered World War I Panel of Honor with the names of Clearwater citizens who served in the war visible in the lobby area. The Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theater is a cultural icon in Downtown Clearwater, offering world-class theater to a small audience. Nancy and David Bilheimer gave $2.5 million to Ruth Eckerd Hall as part of the theater’s continuing “Expanding the Experience” fundraising effort in March 2019. The Capitol Theater in downtown Clearwater has been renamed The Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theater in honor of the generous contribution. The Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theater has hosted artists such as Henry Rollins’ punk rock band, comedian Steven Wright, and singer Richard Marx. The theater also has hosted artists including Jay Leno and B.B. King. King.

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