Mt. Sinai, NY, December 16, 2006—This website is dedicated on the 35th anniversary of John Scher’s Capitol Theatre (Passaic, NJ) to all the people who helped transform a half-hearted relic of the 1920s into what Billboard Magazine eventually described as “the No. 1 concert hall in the nation under 6,000 seats.”
If the theatre had defects such as its miniscule stage, the lack of a fly loft, and dressing rooms unfit for anyone other than mad dogs and Englishmen, it also had great qualities that included an unobstructed view of the stage from every seat, and a peerless acoustical environment due to 2-inches of painted acoustical padding on all the interior walls—and no balconies to interfere with the sound waves. Most importantly, the Capitol Theatre carried on a great tradition established by Bill Graham at the Fillmore East: the best bands, the best crews, and the best place to enjoy a great show.
Kudos to All
I am grateful to co-founders John Scher and Al Hayward for having the chutzpah to buy that old relic and turn it into the longest running rock’n’roll theatre in the world; to Amy Polan for holding a tremendous house of cards and a wild bunch of kids together long enough to reach the tipping point of success; to Chris Gale, Mo Morrison, Al DeZon, and Frankie Stedtler for professionalizing the production as we grew all the way from those first frightening days at the Capitol to Englishtown and beyond; to Arthur Berman, Jack Parow and Rick Stuart for keeping the back door, the front door and everything else safely under control; to the gentlemen of Local 59 who taught me that the impossible is possible with mutual respect and trust; to my All-Star follow spot crew for covering everybody’s ass on cue and in the most flattering color; to Thom Drewke for much needed technical direction all around (but most especially for my wonderful lighting bridge); to John Goodfellow (“Spot 1”) for having the courage to direct video for the Capitol’s first-ever live video projection; to Len Dell’Amico, Veronica, Celeste, Joe, Mitch and everyone else who evolved together into the best live performance video production crew on the planet; to Cy Kocis, James, Randy and ALL the many wonderful people on the hospitality crew for their relentlessly exuberant kindness to everyone; to Bob Wolfe for his boundless energy and good will; to Hood, without whom the tickets would remain untaken with such style; to A.J., who kept his smile on that long trek from the Fillmore box office to the Capitol; to Bruce Moran for making the program program possible; to Brenig Bowen for his priceless English smirk; to Charlie Lang for his enthusiastic support and a mountain of memorabilia for this website, and to everyone else who helped to make the Capitol Theatre the great success that it truly became.
The one thing that we all share is our memory of a brief moment in time that we call the Capitol Theatre, and our place in its history. Without us all, without every last one of us who gave our hearts and souls to the idea of the Capitol, it could never have been. Thank you all.
Resident Stage Lighting Director, Capitol Theatre 1971-1986
Concert Program Cover Illustrator, 1975-1984