Montpelier’s Capitol Theatre set to reopen after being closed by summer flooding

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 5:11 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Get your popcorn ready-- Montpelier’s Capitol Theatre reopens Friday after months of rebuilding from the flood. Our Sophia Thomas spoke with the owners about their decision to go through with the pricey renovations.

Lilli Cain’s childhood could be straight out of a movie-- literally. Cain and her siblings grew up running the Capitol Theatre, their family’s movie theater in Montpelier.

“It was fun. We learned how to make popcorn at a young age, do soda. When I was younger we had the balcony so we got to watch the movies from the balcony with our friends,” Cain said.

This summer, Cain and her siblings watched their childhood wash away. Cain says flooding destroyed the concession booth, seats, curtains, speakers, floors and even the double-insulated walls, which posed a major challenge during the rebuild.

“When they first got the first layer of the sheetrock out, they’re like, ‘OK, good, we’re done.’ Well no, because there’s two other layers of sheetrock and insulation in between, as well,” Cain said.

Months later, her family is gearing up to reopen this Friday. They’ve sunk over $1 million into renovations. And just like they ran the theater, they’ve renovated as a family. Cain’s father, Frederick Bashara, says his children and 12 grandchildren have been there every step of the way.

“They’re putting the floorlights down, they’re putting the poster frames up, putting the televisions up, they’re cleaning. You know, we don’t sit back. We all work hard together,” Bashara said.

Other business owners might have seen the theater as a lost cause and called it quits. Theaters are still riding the pandemic wave, with billions in box office earnings lost over the height of COVID nationwide. But Cain says the Capitol Theatre is her family’s purpose.

“It’s our life. It’s part of the city, it’s part of who we are. It’s getting out. It’s not just staying home in your pajamas watching a movie, it’s going out on the town, being a part of the community,” she said.

The Capitol Theatre will reopen Friday with “Priscilla,” “Next Goal Wins” and the highly anticipated “Hunger Games 3.”