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Built in 1914 for B.F. Keith’s Vaudeville circuit, the Lyric is one of the few theaters still existing that was specifically built to maximize the acoustics and close seating needed for vaudeville shows. Major stars such as the Marx Brothers, Mae West, Sophie Tucker, Will Rogers, and Milton Berle played the Lyric. Berle said it was ‘as fine a theater as any in New York.’ During the 1920s it was the custom to attend shows at the Lyric Theatre on Monday nights – if you could get a reservation. Tickets cost from 25 to 75 cents. In summer, air was fanned over two tons of ice a day to keep customers cool. Though seating was segregated the Lyric was one of the first places in the South where blacks and whites could watch the same show at the same time for the same price.
Glenny Brock, Founder of Friends of the Lyric, will be speaking about the Lyric Theater as well as the Light Up the Lyric Theatre Campaign to restore this Birmingham landmark.
A restored Lyric Theatre could immediately host the 100+ events the Alabama Theatre now turns away annually and create an economic impact of an additional $5 million dollars a year for Birmingham, creating as many as 200 construction and permanent jobs. With the economies of scale offered by the Alabama Theatre staff right across the street, the Lyric is confidently predicted to be completely self sustaining within three years of the completion of the restoration.
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