WHEELING, W.Va. – Grab a seat — literally! That’s what the Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau is urging folks to do to help pay for the restoration of the historic Capitol Theatre.
“We removed 2,500 seats that were last put in there in 1948,” according to CVB Executive Director Frank O’Brien. “They had seen their life and were in bad shape. Some of them had springs coming out of the seat.”
Two local benefactors donated money to pay for part of the project. O’Brien said they’re calling on the general public to help pay for the rest.
“For just $250, you can have your name, a message, your business, whatever you would like, in a permanent donor plate that would be installed on one of the 2,200 seats in the theatre,” explained O’Brien.
The CVB kicked off the “Your Seat in the Spotlight” campaign Monday morning. The first donor was the Hampton Inn, which gave $10,000 toward the project.
The theatre took out a $1.1 million loan earlier this year to pay for the new seats. They have three years to pay it back. O’Brien is confident the community will come together and adopt all those seats.
“We think this is a great way for the individual or family or even a company to have your name forever remembered on the seat of the Capitol [Theatre].”
O’Brien said if you take a Seat in the Spotlight, that doesn’t mean that’s where you’ll sit for every performance. But it is a way to leave a mark on the community. And the earlier you put in your request, the better your “view.”
“It is first come, first serve, as far as getting that front row seat,” stressed O’Brien. “So you’ll need to apply early!”
If you’re interested in selecting a seat, you can log on to www.visitwheelingwv.com for more information.
The Capitol Theatre has played host to everyone from Willie Nelson to David Letterman, Bob Dylan to Broadway musicals over its 85-year history.