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Casting Call: Birmingham Anticipates the Final Renovation Stages of the Historic Lyric Theater

LyricCheers to the weekend! As many make plans to step into the bountiful nightlife amenities that Birmingham has to offer, get your movie pallets ready to soon take part in Birmingham’s age old past time theater, the Lyric. A former vaudeville and movie theater that was built in 1914, the Lyric is situated in the heart of downtown’s historic entertainment district on 3rd Avenue North on the corner of 18th Street North.

Once offering its typical form of entertainment, that featured a mixture of specialty acts such as burlesque comedy and song and dance, most popular in the US in the early 20th century, Lyric is one of the few theaters still existing that was specifically built to maximize the acoustics and close seating needed for vaudeville shows.

Lyric was renown in the southeast for hosting major touring shows, often accommodating entertainment legends such as the Marx Brothers, Mae West and Sophie Tucker, that peaked the entertainment industry of the south for decades in the early 1900s into the 1920s during the height of segregation, where both blacks and whites had equal access to the shows.

The council approved $500,00.00 in funding to help restore the theatre back in December of 2013. Additional funds to complete the renovation have been raised from fundraising efforts. The newly renovated theater will offer a wider performing stage and closer audience to comfortably suit the timeless performing arts such as the symphony, ballet, opera and theatre.

The $10 million restoration is slated for completion in December of this year. A Grand Opening of the Lyric Theatre will take place in mid-January 2016. Those involved with the renovation project say the theater is expected to host over 100 events each year boasting an economic impact of well over $5 million dollars a year. This economic surge is projected to create as many as 200 construction and permanent jobs.

This article is a contribution from Chiara Perry (chiara.perry@birminghamal.gov) in the Birmingham City Council Public Information Office. For more information please contact 205.254.2294.