COLUMBUS (WCMH) — When the Ohio Theatre fell on hard times in the 1960s, it was sold to a developer who planned to demolish it and build an office tower.
“It was people, ordinary people like you and I, that rose up and said let’s save this theater,” said CAPA founder, Scott Whitlock.
And they did. When the theater was threatened, a group called “Save the Ohio” came together to raise the funds to buy back the theater.
After months of rallying and fundraising the group held a meeting in the theater announcing that they had decided to give up.
“They were two people in that meeting who got up and said, this is too important, we should not tear this theater down,” said Whitlock.
Scott Whitlock and one other person joined hands with those two to help prevent the demolition.
“That’s when the work on what became CAPA began.”
They came together and formed the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts – CAPA – and took on the effort to save the Ohio Theatre.
The goal was to buy back the building. With community support, fundraising and donations, they did.
CAPA then gave the Ohio a major renovation, converting it from an American movie palace to a performing arts center.
Current CAPA President, Chad Whittington worked at the theater when he was in college and today is helping preserve the organization and the history of the building.
“I think that’s one of the things, as we celebrate our 50 anniversary, to think about; our history and all of the people who have come though the theater over the years,” noted Whittington.
From the Ohio Theatre:
This year, CAPA is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and what better way to kick off the celebration than with the organ that played such a big part in saving the Ohio Theatre and the creation of CAPA.
CAPA presents the MIGHTY MORTON ORGAN FREE CONCERT & SINGALONG
Sunday, March 17, 3pm
Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.)
Celebrate the 91st birthday of the Ohio Theatre with a free concert and singalong showcasing the Ohio’s original “Mighty Morton” theatre pipe organ. CAPA featured organist Clark Wilson will replicate the audience singalong performed by former resident organist Roger Garrett on February 16, 1969, as part of the “final performance” at the Ohio Theatre. This will be followed by a concert from world-renowned organist Simon Gledhill featuring music from Broadway, Hollywood, and the Great American Songbook. Admission is free, and seating is general admission.