Lyric at the Plaza

1725 NW 16th Street,
Oklahoma City, OK 73106

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Showing 16 comments

rivest266
rivest266 on April 5, 2014 at 11:48 am

July 14th, 1935 grand opening ad in photo section.

seymourcox
seymourcox on July 17, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Recent color shots of the Lyric (nee-Plaza) Theatre can be seen on this fine site,
http://www.roadsideoklahoma.com/node/510

kpdennis
kpdennis on April 25, 2009 at 12:43 am

The Plaza – falling apart in 1994:
View link

rivest266
rivest266 on October 11, 2008 at 4:29 pm

This opened on July 14th, 1935

jchapman1
jchapman1 on July 8, 2007 at 10:03 am

Interesting shots of the lobby and auditorium can be seen on below site. Exterior photo labelled 1935 actually was snapped during the 1970s.
View link
Inside the star is the original 1935 exterior appearance.
http://www.lyrictheatreokc.com/plazarenovation

raybradley
raybradley on December 15, 2006 at 5:50 pm

Boller Bros. designed the Ottawa, KS, PLAZA Theatre, the Lawrence, KS, GRANADA Theatre, and the Oklahoma City, OK, PLAZA Theatre. Original facades on all three of these 1930’s movie houses were almost identical.
Most likely these theatre interiors did not match one another.

raybradley
raybradley on September 16, 2006 at 4:24 am

Plaza management was noted for hiring handsome, muscular young men for their doorman and usher staff. Uniforms were custom altered to insure a snug fit.

xxx
xxx on May 6, 2006 at 6:05 am

Scroll down this fun website to see recent views of Plaza -
http://www.agilitynut.com/theatres/ok.html

Okie
Okie on March 15, 2006 at 2:38 pm

Here are 1938 images of the Plaza Theatre’s original Spanish Art-Deco facade. Also note artist’s rendition for an ongoing restoration project.
http://www.okc.gov/planning/16_plaza/index.html

xxx
xxx on March 15, 2006 at 2:31 pm

Chuck 1231:
My error! Please accept my sincere apology.

Okie
Okie on March 14, 2006 at 1:02 pm

Oops, one of several typos on my part; white stucco was added to cover the showy facade in 1976, not 1970. Also, at that same time the interior was gutted and redone in the same stark white treatment, with limited “blacklight” color touches. Gleaming dream clothe stage & exit drapery were replaced with red linen.
During renovation those stylized Art Deco light fixtures, brass standards, and red velvet rope were up for sale at an anitique shop across the street, and they sold quickly.

xxx
xxx on March 14, 2006 at 9:41 am

Notice cast cement zig-zag detailing, & traces of red/yellow checkerboard (seen on false front corner) that Okie wrote about.
Also, that 1975 exterior photo mentioned above should be credited to Jeff Chapman.

Okie
Okie on March 2, 2006 at 8:27 pm

When Paramount acquired a large lot on NW 17th St and commissioned the Boller Bros Architectural firm to design their new Plaza Theatre to act as a move over house for the (1928) Victoria Theatre. At this time Northwest Sixteenth Street was upper scale “hot property” and real estate values along this popular business district had become quite costly, so only a few front feet were acquired for an entranceway.
For the narrow Plaza facade Boller Bros designed a classy Spanish Art Deco facade executed in tan and rust brick, with zig-zag cast cement detailing. An Art Deco bronze marquee and upright sign were also included in this design.
An unusually long lobby gradually flaired out into a large cul-de-sac chamber, accented by jazzy carpeting, stylized lightning bolt chandeliers, and a massive Spanish Deco fireplace.
Because a balcony was purposely omitted from the Plaza design Paramount advertised the comfortable 900 seat auditorium as “ALL LOGE SEATING”. Speed stripes raced up sidewalls and across a vaulted ceiling from which speed stripe chandeliers were suspended. The zig-zag stage was heavily draped in sparkling red dream clothe. Instead of a standard enclosed platform area, the stage “telescoped” into the auditorium causing the entire hall to become a dramatic proscenium arch.
All Plaza light fixtures were designed with milkglass panels so lighting colour schemes could be lamped to match the season; Spring- pink, Summer- blue, Autumn- orange, Winter- red.
After all grand opening pomp and ballyhoo died down, attendance fell off and stayed in a slump. Paramount felt that the narrow Plaza facade didn’t attract enough attention and decided that something drastic had to be done quick. A taller, new false front was installed composed of large red and yellow checkerboard enamalled panels, a new fire engine red upright marquee, and more colorful lighting. Complaints arose quickly as this section of NW 16th St was considered to sophisticated for such tawdry structure and surrounding merchants complained loudly of the red and yellow eye sore. So, Paramount had the false front edesigned to red and white squares and slightly reduced the height. Still gaudy, but complaints ceased, and ticket sales did pick up.
Because the ‘all loge’ policy gained favor with the movie going public the Plaza became the favorite first run neighborhood house of OKC’s Northside and eventually replaced the much grander, much larger Victoria Theatre which closed for good in 1953.
In 1970 the red/white checkerboard facade was finally replaced with a clean, white stucco look which blended well into the Sixteenth Street district. Currently the Plaza is undergoing renovation to be transformed into a local repertory company.

xxx
xxx on September 30, 2005 at 9:25 am

Old timers used to tell about a fun feature of when the PLAZA Theater first opened. A brightly lighted, colorful Rock-Ola Jukebox (a new inovation in 1935) majestically rose from a hidden compartment onto a scalloped draped stage, and played amplified music during intermissions. Instead of records, this jukebox delivered the latest hit parade tunes via telephone line, while festive “dancing” lights kept time with the melody.

xxx
xxx on September 7, 2005 at 1:55 pm

Jay McKay was interior designer of the PLAZA.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 6, 2005 at 11:44 am

The Plaza opened in 1935 and during the 1940’s was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Ed Rowley.