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Despite weather issues Capitol II stays open

Community members rally behind owner Dawn Bleeker

Frozen pipes and an antiquated boiler system might have forced Newton’s Capitol II theatre to shut down for a few days, but owner Dawn Bleeker said she’s hoping there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Despite the problems Bleeker has faced, she said the support she’s received from the local community has been heartwarming as she’s battled heating issues and water damage.

“I can’t say enough about the community,” Bleeker said. “When we have these troubling times it’s the community that keeps me going.”

Located on the first floor of the historic former Hotel Maytag building, Bleeker said dealing with water issues in the building isn’t a new problem this year, they’ve just been worse than past years.

In December, a water pipe burst after the boiler shut down in the building. The pipe, above the stage, and behind one of the screens caused water damage to some of the sound equipment in the theatre,but workers were able to get the pipe capped off sof the theatre could stay open.

On Wednesday, another leaky pipe caused damage to the ceiling tiles in one of the theatres, and Bleeker was forced to close while workers cleaned up the damage. Despite the issues she’s faced, Bleeker said she’s proud to say the theatre has only been closed two nights since the first water line broke, this is the busiest time of the year for Bleeker and she said it’s important to keep the theatre open.

“It’s been hard on me because this our busiest time of the year, and I’ve probably turned away over a hundred people and that’s been tough,” Bleeker said. “At the same time, it’s just happening and we just have to deal with it. We knew it was going to get worse before it got better, but I thought better had already happened.”

Despite the troubles she’s faced, Bleeker said she’s been pleased with how quickly Jack Hatch, the building’s owner has responded to the problems at the theatre. Bleeker said she’s looking forward to starting the building remodeling process, she’ll be glad to see the heating and plumbing systems updated.

“When we got ahold of Jack Hatch he’s been very good about making sure that everything’s been done to keep us open,” Bleeker said. “It’s been so cold they get one thing fixed and then the next thing happens.”

Despite the missing ceiling tiles Bleeker said she plans to open the theatre tonight. A cleaning crew has already removed debris from the fallen tiles, and Bleeker said she didn’t want to close if she didn’t have too. Despite the problems customers haven’t shied away from the theatre, and Bleeker said it’s nice see the support of community members.

“Through this process people have come in and we’ve told them our situation, and they’ve looked at it as an adventure,” Bleeker said. “They’ve been great sports about it all. We never want to turn people away, everyone knows what's going on. You have a choice to stay or go, so we’ve been fortunate to stay open.”

When Bleeker put out a call for help Jessica Lowe was one of several who responded. Lowe, whose brother Zach works at the theatre volunteered to come in and help Bleeker man the front of the house on Wednesday night. Lowe said she’s happy to help Bleeker, and even happier to see the outpouring of support from members of the community.

“What I like to see is just the community coming forward, they’ve been having issues off an on for the last two weeks and that is really tough on them,” Lowe said. “I’m hoping people will really come out in droves tonight to support the Capitol II.”

Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or

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