I had a gig Friday night in Lombard IL, followed by three shows the next morning for Kids In The Rotunda in Madison WI. The shows all went well and were fun to do. One of the great things about doing the Kids In The Rotunda shows is that since I grew up, and went to college in Madison, there are often people I know in the audience. Old friends (usually with their kids now), the parents of old friends, and in the second show this time I saw my Middle School science teacher Mr. Leidel. I was trying to mention the fact that he was there during the show, but I couldn’t deliver lines, and figure out where to mention him, at the same time well enough to do it. I couldn’t find him after the show either, with the rush of people trying to buy yo-yos and wanting trading cards, and I’m not sure he even recognized me anyway. Middle school was a long time ago.

After the shows, I got really lucky and got to have a quick personal tour of the two big theaters in the new Overture Center. John, who had been running sound for me, offered to show me the newly remodeled Capitol Theater (formerly remodeled as the Oscar Meyer Theater, but now returned to its original name), and the brand-new Overture Theater. It was awesome.

I have actually performed in the Capitol Theater twice, and it was fantastic. Unfortunately, one of the shows was on 9/11, so John and I share that bond since we both were working that day. The Capitol Theater is one of the two massive ones in town that were built in the days of Vaudeville. First the Civic Center, and after that was demolished the Overture center, were built around the Capitol Theater. So inside a sparkling, new, modern building you have a gorgeous old Vaudeville theater. I was worried that the remodel (to make it smaller) was going to destroy it, but they did a great job.

The newly renovated Capitol Theater

The brand-new Overture Theater is pretty great too. It has a TRIPLE balcony! It’s an astonishing sight standing on the stage looking up at the house when it’s empty, so I can only imagine how great it would be to play to a full house there. They have a new giant symphonic pipe organ, and a really cool retracting symphony shell that allows all the sound to go out into the house instead of getting lost backstage, or up in the grid above the stage. I don’t think it’ll be happening any time soon, but I sure hope I get to perform to a full house on a stage as grand as this one.

Overture Hall