On stage at the Capawock Theatre last Friday evening, Carly Simon played guitar and sang the lyrics to one of her songs, Back the Way.

Carly Simon and company performed opening act. — Mark Lovewell

“Back the way it was before, before the door was opened . . .back the way it used to be,” Ms. Simon sang, joined on stage by other musicians including son Ben Taylor and daughter Sally Taylor.

It was a fitting way to begin Friday night at the Capawock, which was in many respects back to the way it used to be: a full crowd filling the seats, popcorn popping in the lobby and a film on the big screen.

The 102-year-old theatre had been dormant since September 2013; her sister theatre in Oak Bluffs, the Strand, last screened a film in 2011. Both were in disrepair and needed work to catch up to the digital age.

This spring, Vineyard businessman Mark Snider mounted a quick and successful campaign to restore the theatres and bring them back to life. The Martha’s Vineyard Theatre Foundation has raised $820,000 toward a $1 million goal. Friday’s invite-only gala celebrated the newly-renovated Capawock, which officially opens to the public Saturday. The Strand will open June 20.

The lobby smelled like popcorn and fresh paint as people trickled into the theatre, greeted at the door by Mr. Snider.

The restored movie venue was celebrated first with music. Ms. Simon, a board member for the theatre foundation, took the stage with her children and John Forte, Sophie Hiller and Oli Rockberger.

“The first movie I saw here was Muppets Take Manhattan,” Ben Taylor said.

“A lot of memories here,” Ms. Simon added. “I saw E.T. here.”

Mark Snider (left), the Edgartown businessman who led the theatre revivals, and Richard Paradise, executive director of the Martha's Vineyard Film Society which will operate the theatres. — Mark Lovewell

Nearly every seat was full in the old theatre made new. The theatre was completely gutted, Mr. Snider told the audience, and retrofitted. Improvements include air conditioning and heat, state of the art digital sound and new bathrooms. Walls are dark blue with and yellow-and-white striped curtains framing lanterns.

Murals created by Margot Datz grace the lobby; the artwork depicts seagulls eating popcorn and candy. “Seagulls will eat anything,” one onlooker observed.

Martha’s Vineyard Film Society will operate the films at the revived theatres. Society executive director Richard Paradise welcomed the audience and presented Mr. Snider with his very own Oscar “for his heroic, heroic effort at putting this all together.”

Ms. Simon and company performed several songs, including one she wrote for the movie Grease (which she saw at the Capawock of course). The song was turned down, she said. “They should have used it.”

Ben handed the guitar to his sister, Sally and the group sang the original verse of You’re So Vain before Mr. Snider took the stage.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that Carly Simon and her talented family would be an opening act for me,” he said.

“It is a miracle that were here today,” he continued, noting the significant date: 98 years ago, John F. Kennedy was born. He said he hoped that the theatre revivals represent President Kennedy’s spirit of optimism.

The theatres, he said, “have been so missed.”

He thanked the members of the community who helped pull together for the cause, including the Hall family, the owners of the theatres who agreed to lease them to the foundation.

“You’re going to witness the first time ever transferring from live music to film,” he said, adding that the stage was built to host live music, lectures and community events. “Start thinking about how these community services can work for you.”

Mr. Snider had his own movie memory. “I saw my first movies here,” he said. “The first R movie I ever saw. The Summer of ‘42.”

“Enjoy the show,” he concluded. “And see you at the movies this summer.”

The theatre opens to the public Saturday.

Ben Hall Sr., said earlier this week that the last movie to show at the Capawock was Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine — fitting, he said, because of the blue motif inside the theatre. Friday’s inaugural film was Pitch Perfect 2, the new musical comedy that continued the musical theme of the night, Mr. Paradise said.

Before the main feature began, the audience saw a short clip of Vineyard history created by the Vineyard Gazette and Martha’s Vineyard Museum, one of several short films that will screen before the movies.

Earlier in the night, Dave Smith admired the small blue lights lining the aisle and anticipated the quality of the sound from his seat toward the back of the theatre. His company, DASECO, did the sound and electrical work for the theatre, working “unbelievably fast,” he said.

When he heard about the theatre project, Mr. Smith said, he offered to help with the electrical part of the renovations. “The whole company jumped in,” he said. Now the Capawock, and soon the Strand, are set up for the next 20 years.

Earlier in the day, during sound checks, Mr. Smith recalled Mr. Snider saying “I feel like a kid.”

“I said, me too,” Mr. Smith said, munching popcorn and waiting for the show to start.