The Capitol Theatre has been an anchor on Main Street and in the Community for 94 years! Virtually everyone living here has wonderful memories of attending shows, or being on stage, at the Capitol Theatre. We’re starting a project to collect your Capitol Theatre Memories.

The Capitol Theatre Historic Photo

Maybe you met your spouse here, snuck into the theatre to see a movie, saw your favorite entertainer or maybe you had a paranormal encounter. Regardless of what your memory may be, we want to hear about it and record it for posterity and to help us raise funds for the Capitol Theatre!

If you have a memory you’d like to share, please complete and submit the form located at the bottom of this page and we’ll be in touch with you!

A Theatre and A Court: A COVID19 Match

He apologized for the mess in his office at the Courthouse Annex, but that “mess” made it clear that he works hard. One long table full of documents for the building project; another groaning under the weight of COVID19 protocols and procedures. “We couldn’t have pulled off what we did without the Capitol”, he said.

District Court Administrator Mark Singer hasn’t been here long, just eleven years. In spite of his title, he’s not a county employee; he works for the State. When COVID19 interrupted his well-laid plans for a smooth transition of the Courts in early 2020, Mark didn’t have the decades of local connections and experiences to guide him. He did have solid support from the board of judges and Franklin County officials, who were just as eager as Mark to keep the courts running. From securing laptops for employees to switching virtual meeting platforms, County officials supported him at every step.

And when the progress on the courthouse expansion project took away the large spaces inside the Old Courthouse and Courthouse Annex, County officials supported the search for a new venue. Mark made a dozen calls, but Capitol Theatre staff returned his call first. It was a stroke of good luck for the theatre, and the start of an unusual, wonderful partnership.

Judges, representatives from Court Administration, and representatives from the Sheriff’s Office toured the theatre, determining what spaces could be utilized and how. Court Administration took over nearly the whole theatre, with the exception of the Chambersburg Ballet and Capitol Theatre offices.

Crews installed metal detectors, added a refrigerator and privacy panels in the jury deliberation space, and arranged tables and chairs into court-like settings. “We needed it to look like a court and feel like a court, so it could function as a court,” said Mark. After ensuring all safety measures were in place and testing all the systems—”audio at the theatre is better than at the courthouse,” Mark laughed—the team pronounced the Capitol Theatre ready for court.

“I have to applaud the residents of Franklin County,” Mark said. “The citizens did their part” to make it work. Security took longer than at the courthouse and people had to wait, sometimes in the rain or the cold. No one complained.

Usually, the main auditorium held socially distanced jury selection and the Wood Center served as court. On one very special occasion, President Judge Shawn D. Meyers administered the Oath of Allegiance, welcoming 27 new citizens of the United States of America. Franklin County held its last naturalization ceremony in 2019. The Capitol Theatre made it possible for 27 county residents to become citizens in their own county, rather than driving to the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office in Philadelphia. Local oversight of the event allowed everyone to be mask-less if they were vaccinated and to bring a guest, neither of which would have been permitted at the Philadelphia office.

Mark oversees the courts in both Franklin and Fulton counties. Interestingly, both counties’ courts utilized nearby historic theatres during the pandemic: Franklin’s to the Capitol Theatre, and Fulton’s to the Fulton Theatre. Talk about thinking outside the box! Before COVID19, the Capitol wasn’t even a consideration for Franklin County’s continuity plan. Today, it’s near the top of the list.

Since 1927, the Capitol Theatre has been a beacon of the arts on Chambersburg’s South Main Street. With its original Möller pipe organ, mahogany railings, elaborate murals and carved fretwork, the historic building is a rare gem. It’s available for rent as a court, a meeting room, a wedding or party venue. To inquire about using the Capitol Theatre, a registered 501(c)(3) organization, for your event, visit http://www.thecapitoltheatre.org/ or call 717-263-0202.

Pres. Judge Meyers, center, addressing the candidates for citizenship.

Pledge of Allegiance at the Naturalization Ceremony.

Wood Center set up for court.

The Capitol Theatre: It Shaped His Life

Travis Horton was very little when he went to the Capitol for the first time. Like many local theatre fans at the time, his parents kicked off their 1995 holiday season with a family outing to A Christmas Carol. Young Travis, four years old at the time, was entranced: audience members all dressed up in holiday finery, the cast in fancy costumes, the fog and tombstones and the magic of it all! He not only clearly remembers the thrill of that experience; Travis leads a life that was shaped by it.

He attended Capitol Theatre events throughout his life and volunteered as soon as he was able, both with the Capitol and with Chambersburg Community Theatre (CCT). Once, while serving as an usher, a fellow usher struck up a conversation about her other role at the theatre, as a member of the Capitol Theatre Center Foundation Board of Trustees. Shortly thereafter, the Board invited Travis to join. He started his first-ever board term in 2019, just after completing his master’s program at Wilson College (Humanities, with concentrations in language and literature).

That wasn’t his only first in 2019. Travis explained, “My wonderful family and friends push me to do better. They always encourage me, and I think everyone should try something new and exciting, even if it scares you!” And so, in his late twenties and with no theatre background other than as an audience member, Travis auditioned for CCT’s holiday show, Nuncrackers. He landed the role of Fr. Virgil (photo) and further cemented the importance of the Capitol Theatre in his life.

Travis feels comfortable at the Capitol. From that very first visit right up to the present, volunteers, staff, and fellow Trustees welcomed him, supported him, and pushed him to take risks. “There’s a role here for everyone”, he says. As a new Trustee, Travis started as a member of the show selection committee. He relates his newest role as Secretary of the Board to his love of language and, he laughs, “my organizing skills”.

The Capitol Theatre holds a special place in this man’s heart. With that first memory of live theatre firmly stuck in his mind, the joy and wonder of it shaping him as a person, Travis gladly gives his time, talent, and treasure to the Capitol. “Giving back to my community is important to me. It feels right, but most importantly, it makes me feel good.”

Since 1927, the Capitol Theatre has been a beacon of the arts on Chambersburg’s South Main Street. With its original Möller pipe organ, mahogany railings, elaborate murals and carved fretwork, the historic building is a rare gem. A registered 501(c)(3) organization, the theater gratefully accepts donations at www.TheCapitolTheatre.org. Simply click on the blue “Donate” button.

Those who prefer to mail donations may make checks payable to Capitol Theatre Center Foundation and send them to Attn: Donations, 159 S. Main St., Chambersburg, PA 17201.

Travis Horton as Fr. Virgil in Nuncrackers.

The Capitol Theatre: It’s a Family Affair

She and husband Bob moved here decades ago but Maryann Fisher calls Chambersburg home. Their daughter Bridget was just three when they moved, and son Mike was born here. Mike was in high school when the family visited the Capitol Theatre to see A Christmas Carol, presented by Totem Pole Playhouse. It was a perfect first-experience for all of them, and Maryann’s love affair with performing arts and the Capitol Theatre began. From then on, the family attended many shows and events.

In 2012, Maryann was invited to join the theatre’s board of trustees. She served two full terms, continuing to deepen her attachment to the theatre. She even connected her business, Decorating Den Interiors, to the theatre with a new event, Ladies Night. Not only was it good for business, but Ladies Night was also a fun event that benefitted the Capitol Theatre, too.

Maryann and Bob attended many shows—tribute bands are their favorite! —and events through the years. As a board member, she also volunteered on committees and at events. One of her most treasured memories of the theatre happened during a family-friendly extravaganza focused on the movie Frozen. She’d been volunteering in one of the upstairs rooms. Just before the movie began, Maryann sneaked into the balcony, hoping to catch a glimpse of her grandchildren in the auditorium.

“In the quiet before the movie started, snow fell from the ceiling and the kids went nuts. (Theatre manager) Stephanie didn’t tell me there was going to be snow! I could hear Leo and Finley screaming with excitement below, and the snow was falling, and it made me so happy, my heart so full, I started to cry”, remembered Maryann.

Since then, the Fishers have made theatre a multi-generation family affair. Maryann and Finley took Finley’s cousins to the Princess Party, which included a showing of the Disney Movie Tangled. Mike enjoyed father-son bonding with Leo at the Superhero Party, with a showing of the Disney Movie The Avengers, based on the Marvel comic.

Continuing the tradition that started her love affair with the Capitol, Maryann took her grandchildren to see A Christmas Carol. At their first time, Leo and Finley got called onstage by Scrooge himself, who treated each child to a special coin at the end of the show. The next time Maryann tempted them with “something special planned for you” and asked them to guess, the kids blurted out in unison, “We’re going to the Capitol Theatre?”

Since 1927, the Capitol Theatre has been a beacon of the arts on Chambersburg’s South Main Street. With its original Möller pipe organ, mahogany railings, elaborate murals and carved fretwork, the historic building is a rare gem. A registered 501(c)(3) organization, the theater gratefully accepts donations at www.TheCapitolTheatre.org. Simply click on the blue “Donate” button.

Those who prefer to mail donations may make checks payable to Capitol Theatre Center Foundation and send them to Attn: Donations, 159 S. Main St., Chambersburg, PA 17201.

Finley Fisher at the Princess party.

Leo and Mike Fisher at the Superhero event.

Maryann Fisher at a Ladies Night event.

Four generations of the Fisher Family
Standing L-R: Leo, Maryann, Bridget and husband Kevin Fura, Finley, Bob, Karrie, and Mike. Seated, Maryann’s mother Helen Barilone.

The Capitol Theatre Reignited Her Love of Performing Arts

Becky Ables has lived on several continents, including South America, Europe, and in North America, two southern states in the United States. While she had great experiences along the way, she never really connected to a place enough to call it home. When she moved here in 2004, Becky was determined to make a hometown connection for herself and her daughter, Janie.

Her then-employer encouraged her to join the board of directors for the Capitol Theatre Center Foundation. While Becky was involved in theater arts in high school, she’d never even been to a historic theater, so was leery. That wariness was quickly put to rest when she met board members, the staff, and other volunteers at the Capitol. Everyone was so welcoming, and Becky loved hearing the older event volunteers share their childhood memories of the theater. She was hooked.

Becky made sure her daughter experienced the joy of live performances, too. In addition to enjoying shows with her mom, Janie performed onstage at the Capitol as part of the Missoula Children’s Theatre and Stage Camp.

“She also wants to write something for the Young Playwrights Festival, but we haven’t fit that into the schedule yet,” Becky said with a laugh.

Becky served two full terms on the board; the maximum permitted before a break. During 2020, her final year, Becky gained firsthand knowledge of the struggle experienced by a theater when it is forced to go dark. Fortunately, the Capitol successfully applied for several grants that funded salaries for the reduced staff, much-needed preservation, and other bare-minimum expenses.

Becky clearly understands the critical role individual donors and sponsors play in keeping the arts alive. Her business, A&K Settlements, proudly sponsors the Young Playwrights Festival and Becky also donates to the theater.

“I’m a donor because the theater is important to me,” she said. “It’s one of my top two or three charities every year.”

During her board tenure, she served on the committee for the popular Blues, Brews & Barbeque event and sought local businesses to sponsor it; volunteered at Blues, Brews and other festivities; and was elected secretary of the foundation’s board. Though she is no longer serving on the board, Becky will continue giving her time, talents, and treasure to the Capitol.

Since 1927, the Capitol Theatre has been a beacon of the arts on Chambersburg’s South Main Street. With its original Möller pipe organ, mahogany railings, elaborate murals and carved fretwork, the historic building is a rare gem. A registered 501(c)(3) organization, the theater gratefully accepts donations at www.TheCapitolTheatre.org. Simply click on the blue “Donate” button.

Those who prefer to mail donations may make checks payable to Capitol Theatre Center Foundation and send them to Attn: Donations, 159 S. Main St., Chambersburg, PA 17201.

Becky Ables and daughter Janie Miller in 2020, awaiting a performance.

Janie Miller, age 9, in her first performance at the Capitol Theatre. She played a Lilliputian in the Missoula Children’s Theatre production of Gulliver’s Travels.

Janie Miller, age 11, played the Wicked Witch of the West in the finale performance of Cumberland Valley School of Music Summer Camp.

Here is a sample of a Capitol Theatre Memory, recollected by our Chair, Development Committee/Capitol Theatre Center Foundation, Ann Wagner: