When Mark Snider announced in February that he was planning to renovate the Capawock Cinema on Martha’s Vineyard — and reopen the venerable movie house in time for Memorial Day — we were skeptical.
“You weren’t the only one,” said Snider, the owner of the Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown.
He missed the Memorial Day deadline, but only by a week. The 197-seat theater in downtown Vineyard Haven will open its doors again Friday with a celebration featuring performances by songbird Carly Simon and her children Ben and Sally Taylor.
“It’s been a mix of everybody helping. People who gave $50 and people who gave $100,000, and tradespeople putting their hearts and souls into getting it done,” said Snider. “It’s an iconic building, but it’s so much more than a building. It’s community.”
In addition to the Capawock, which opened originally in 1913, Snider’s nonprofit Martha’s Vineyard Theater Foundation is also restoring the shuttered Strand Cinema in Oak Bluffs. That movie house opens with a private party June 19 and to the public the next day. Both theaters are owned by Ben Hall, who’s leasing them to the MVTF.
Snider isn’t saying much about Friday’s invite-only party at the Capawock, or what film is screening that night.
Even though Carly Simon is a full-time resident of the Vineyard, it’s still something of a coup that she’s agreed to perform. She hasn’t made a habit of it in recent years, perhaps because she’s been busy writing a book about her extraordinarily interesting life. Three years in the works, there’s still no word when the memoir might be published.