Capitol virtual variety show Sunday


Rome Capitol Theatre, 230 W. Dominick St., will host a virtual variety show fundraiser featuring illusionist and Utica native Leon Etienne at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8.

The show features an array of performances by local entertainers including musicians-performing all original material, dancers and more. Tickets for the one-time streaming broadcast are $10, and benefit the Capitol Arts Complex. Tickets go on sale Friday at and

Hosted by Big Poppa (aka Gary Spears) from Mix 102.5, “A Night At The Capitol” showcases a variety of central New York talent, captured in onstage performances at the Capitol Theatre.

“Music and performing arts here in central New York has been a part of my life since I can remember, and being able to be a part of this showcase of all different genres and styles as part of one online special that helps benefit the Rome Capitol, really is a treat,” said Spears.

From illusionist Leon Etienne to a trivia game show, audience members are promised to find plenty of surprises during the unique fundraiser, organizers said.

“It is an honor and a pleasure to be a part of, ‘A Night At The Capitol,’” Etienne said. “I cannot wait for Central New York to see what these amazing artists have done to support a local treasure at a time when it is needed most.”

Rick Lewis, marketing manager at the Capitol, said the performances were captured with a multi-camera set up.

“The camera work enhances the performance to give you a vantage point that rivals the view from the best seat in the house,” Lewis said. “With the COVID protocols restricting live in-person performances, it not only prevents people from seeing live shows, it also closes the doors on venues like the Capitol. While nothing beats seeing an actual show live, we think audiences will enjoy the production value that matches the efforts of the performers.”

Performances by:

• Illusionist Leon Etienne

Etienne has appeared on hit TV shows America’s Got Talent, Penn & Teller: Fool Us! (he fooled them), and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. His high-energy, action-packed, no-nonsense, show leaves audiences speechless.

Viewers will get an up-close, behind-the-scenes, personal seat to witness Etienne’s performance during “A Night At The Capitol.” He will perform close-up magic from a backstage dressing room, a fun routine on the Capital stage, and even invite everyone to his Magic Rocks Secret Warehouse for a special performance.

• Rick & Julie Montalbano Trio

Being musicians, married and quarantined has given Rick and Julie a great opportunity to write music. Here they showcase one of those songs accompanied by drummer Dean Blask.

• CenterStage Dancers

Entertainers start an an early age. These young dancers fill the Capitol stage dancing to the piano performance of 9-year-old APCA student pianist Alaina Meyer.

• Dugan-Rutledge Band

Scott Rutledge is known for his trumpet work, but he is an equally talented singer. He demonstrates his vocal prowess in this high energy rock original accompanied by drummer John Dugan, guitarist David Dugan and bassist Dan Gerken.

• Poor Tim

When Justin Smithson and Shawn Smith get together, the two musicians fill a space with a much bigger sound than you would think coming from only two musicians. The sound they project in their “A Night At The Capitol” performance even fills the 1,200 seat Capitol Theatre.

• The Zoe Jazz Ensemble

Doc Woods invited six of some of the finest musicians in central New York to join him in a performance of his intricate jazz compositions. The sextet includes Doc on bass; Jeff Stockham, trumpet; Joe Carello, tenor saxophone; Josh Dekaney, drums; Joe Handy, guitar; Tom Witkowski, piano; and Angelo Candela, trombone.

• Peter Loftus Presents

Usually his dance card is filled with live theatrical performances. However this summer was different. When Loftus got together with actors Barbara Revenaugh, Jim Revenaugh, Michael Young and Will Lanfear to perform the short skit, “Kallie’s Cafe,” it was a welcome opportunity to see long-time acting friends who have worked together over the years on SummerStage productions at the Capitol. Their efforts will not only help raise money for the Capitol, they had a good time a good time doing it.

• Lightning Round Trivia

Big Poppa from Mix 102.5 hosts a trivia game show that gives local non-profits the opportunity to win some money while testing their knowledge. This edition of Lightning Round Trivia features Amanda Krueger from the Salvation Army, Jennifer Brillante representing the Rome Rescue Mission and Mark Simon from the Utica Zoo.

Something happens when the bright lights dazzle your eyes while holding a buzzer…as some of the answers to the questions would lead you to believe. The questions that tested the wits of the contestants were compiled by Jervis Public Library Executive Director Lisa Matte and her staff.

Capitol Arts Complex Executive Art Pierce will talk with Big Poppa about the progress with the marquee and other projects during this COVID era, including how the recent developments in the restrictions will affect future plans.


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