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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Capitol Theatre cushion caper draws to close



Ruth Eckerd Hall’s version of Cannonball Run appeared to be turning in the venerable arts organization’s favor as a big truck bearing much-needed seat cushions for the remodeled Capitol Theatre was closing in on Clearwater Tuesday afternoon.

The truck was due to arrive within the hour, said Katie Pedretty, a Ruth Eckerd spokeswoman, around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

A crew of 14 was on hand to begin installing the cushions in the 737-seat downtown theater, due to reopen Wednesday after an extensive renovation and expansion.

A port strike in Mumbai, India, delayed the cushions, which didn’t arrive in Newark, N.J., until late Friday, just in time for that port to close for the weekend.

A frantic round of calls to congressional friends of REH president and CEO Zev Buffman may have helped speed the cargo’s way through customs Monday morning.

A $1,000 bonus was offered to the trucking company to get its essential freight to Clearwater in time for ex-Doobie Brother Michael McDonald’s concert at the opening.

The Capitol, an anchor in downtown Clearwater since 1921, has been closed since March. Hopes are high that its new look will help pump dollars and nightlife into the moribund downtown.

The cushion caper will be resolved “like the D-Day invasion,” said Pedretty, passing along a Buffman quip.

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 5:54pm]


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