Have you been to the Capri lately? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably planning your next visit. If the answer is no, then it’s time to get out your calendar and make a plan.
Since its grand re-opening following a $13 million renovation, some 30,000 visitors have come to the Capri Theater to share the space, be entertained, and learn. The expansion added some 20,000 square feet to the theater and event space, operated by the Plymouth Christian Youth Center.
“I want to welcome everyone in,” said Dennis Spears, the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame singer, actor, and director who is the Capri artistic associate. “When you enter the building you recognize right away, there is something sacred about this space. When you come in, you are going to experience great art.”
Located at 2027 West Broadway, the Capri Theater is one of the anchors of the West Broadway Cultural Corridor, one of Minneapolis’ seven vibrant cultural districts, part of a city initiative designed to encourage exploration of some of its most unique and intriguing neighborhood hubs.
The Capri Theater was built in 1927 as a movie house. In its first near-century, the architectural gem has woven itself into the very life and history of the Northside. Today’s visitors can delight in photographs of a very young Prince Rogers Nelson, who played his first solo show at the Capri in 1979( “Tickets were $4 in advance, $4.50 at the door,” chuckled Spears).
Today, the Capri buzzes with activity, with programming and activities for youth, a weekly farmer’s market from 3 to 7 pm on Friday afternoons on the theater’s front plaza, and an array of accomplished musicians on the stage in the evening.
Tickets are still available for the July 13 jazz and R&B concert featuring chart-toppers Shaun LaBelle, Stokley, and Randy Scott on the Capri stage. Doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:30. Attendees are invited to arrive early to meet, greet and enjoy a beverage.
Later this month, details of the 14th season of the “Legends” series will be announced. This season’s Legends will include five concerts; the series was created by Spears, who curates the performances.
“I started Legends as a tribute to jazz artists past and present who I admired. I wanted something that would give work to our great jazz artists and introduce the community to the great musicians I have been blessed to work with,” Spears said. “Legends is a vehicle to show the correlation between jazz, gospel, blues, hip hop and rap. They are all connected.”
The community is also invited to a free event at 4 pm on July 29. 12×12: Northside x Joe Davis, presented by Mixed Blood Theater, The event will feature poet and community organizer Joe Davis partnering with artists from across the Northside to tell the community’s stories and reflect dreams for the future. The public event will include poetry, music, an art installation and food.
The experience for the audience at the Capri events often continues after the performers have left the stage.
“When people come to experience the music and dance, it’s like in the Black church; after being in service we want to sit around and talk,” said Spears. “They experience a production and they don’t want to leave, they want to stand in fellowship. After the pandemic, people want to be together.”
Along with experiencing the Capri, visitors are encouraged to explore the West Broadway Cultural District and take in its variety of Black-owned shops, galleries, bars and dining spots up and down the thoroughfare.
The Capri Theater is located at 2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411. Free parking is available in the lot just west of the Capri, with handicapped parking available as well. Free street parking is also found on West Broadway and on 23rd Avenue North and Oliver Avenue North (adjacent to PCYC). For more info, visit https://thecapri.org.