The Capri Theater, located at 2027 W. Broadway – one of the oldest and most prominent theaters – is the only one of 13 movie houses in North Minneapolis that remains standing today.
Built in 1927, it was known for many years as the Paradise Theater and was later named the Capri in 1967. In 1932 the theater was remodeled by architect Jack Liebenberg of architectural firm, Liebenberg and Kaplan.
However, it was in 1979 that the Capri would be the venue to change music history and become the sole foundation for “The Minnesota Sound.”
Musical group Chase & Ovation performed a showcase of Prince’s greatest hits, as a tribute to the hometown legend earlier this month at the Capri. The songs performed included “Lets Go Crazy,” “Take Me With You,” “Always In My Hair,” “Father,” “Computer Blue,” “Beautiful Ones,” “Nikki,” “17 Days,” “Musicology,” “I Would Die 4 U,” as well as Prince penned hits “Jungle Love,” “The Bird,” and “Glamorous Life.”
“I was 11 when he did that show here,” said Thomas Chase, lead singer of the group, referring to a Warner Brother showcase Prince put on in February of 1979.
By stage names, Chase and Ovation is comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist Chase, bass guitarist and vocalist Ace Mack, keyboardist and vocalist Vicki Black, guitarist and vocalist Johnny Holiday, percussionist Vincent Lebaron, drummer Lakestar, vocalists Jerome and Anjel and vocalists and dancers Madeline, Jen and Kitty respectively.
Thomas Chase, who has gone solely by Chase since the 3rd grade, does so in recognition of his tribute to Prince, hence the name “Chase.”
Entering the music business at age 19, Chase created Chase & Ovation seven years ago. Before the Ovation, Chase was previously in a rock band. It was guitar oriented, with a heavy R&B influence.
Chase said, “I could do a 90-minute Ozzy Osbourne set and people will tell me ‘has anybody told you, you look and sound just like Prince?’ While tremendously flattered, there is only one Prince.”
Chase has somewhat of a special connection to Prince. Chase was adopted into the family of pioneering politician, Van White. Chase said when White passed away Prince made sure the entire family was able to attend the service and burial.
“He sent not one, two, or three, but a bunch of white limos for the whole family to be present at the funeral,” said Chase
Back in 2004, Chase worked on an R&B project called Cryptic with Brown Mark. He was an extra on the set of the Prince film, Graffiti Bridge in 1990.
Chase said the idea to honor Prince came at a most odd time.
“I woke up at 4 a.m. and said, if you can’t beat them, join them,” he jokes. “We just started entering Prince’s songs into our set and it eventually became a whole show.”
Chase & Ovation’s first tribute to Prince was held at the legendary First Avenue.
“I want to give back to the community I’m from; I want to give back to the music that was the soundtrack to my life,” said Chase “I’ve probably bought the Purple Rain cassette tape 20 times.”
Chase and Ovation’s next performance is a birthday party and concert on Sat., Aug. 4 at Bunker's, 761 N Washington Ave.
Chase & Ovation
Sat., Aug. 4
Doors: 8 p.m.
Music: 9:30 p.m.