Antioch's El Campanil Theatre, 604 West Second Street, will celebrate its 80th anniversary with a one-night-only Jubilee! on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. The show features performers who have appeared on stage since the venue was renovated and reopened in 2004 as a performing arts center.
We're bringing back for one night only some of our most outstanding entertainers who drew standing ovations from our audiences singers, musicians, actors and dancers representing a wide range of entertainment, from musical theater and symphony to opera and pops, said Rick Carraher, the theater's executive director.
One of Contra Costa County's oldest and most architecturally magnificent theaters, El Campanil made its debut on Nov. 1, 1928.
For four decades, the El Campanil Theatre had been a prime venue for vaudeville shows, including appearances by Roy Rodgers, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Donald O'Connor, and Gene Autry. Many inscribed their autographs on dressing room walls. All signatures, as well as those of contemporary performers at El Campanil, have been preserved under an acrylic plastic transparent shield.
With the decline of vaudeville and the emergence of talkies, El Campanil ( tower of bells in Spanish) became a movie palace, staffing a full corps of uniformed usherettes, flashlights in hand, until 1990. In its final days, the theater served as a church.
Although the years took their toll peeling paint, faded artwork, a leaky roof and other signs of deterioration a restoration project began in 2002.
The El Campanil Theatre Preservation Foundation purchased the theater in 2003, and has raised funds to restore the original d