Lyric Theater

1800 Third Avenue North,
Birmingham, AL 35203

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Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on January 6, 2014 at 8:37 am

Here’s a blog post with some recent photographs of the Lyric Theatre

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 26, 2013 at 8:56 am

Restoration update with color photo: tuscaloosanews

cinemad
cinemad on March 12, 2013 at 3:14 am

what a beautiful old lady this theatre is..shame so many of her conteparies have already died….

jjmaccrimmon
jjmaccrimmon on October 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Ladies and Gents, on Sep 28th, 2012, The Lyric Theatre hosted it’s first live performance in over 60 years. The event was a benefit concert by the Chad Fisher Jazz ensemble to raise funds for the continued restoration efforts for the Lyric. To accomplish this feat, volunteers laid down new temporary plywood flooring and lighting. Patrons brought their own chairs. Special dispensation was given by the City of Birmingham, Birmingham Fire Marshal and Code Enforcement to permit this special show. 200 tickets for this performance sold out in a matter of days.

Although the theater area has substantial water damage and decay, the sound quality was nothing less than astonishing. Live jazz spilled across the audience warm and rich as honey. There appeared to be clear sight and sound lines from all parts of the main floor. The band later reported that the sound quality and natural feedback from the venue walls was incredible.

http://savethelyric.com/ https://rally.org/savethelyric

TivFan
TivFan on October 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm

The 18th Street facade of the Lyric can be seen in the l976 Bob Rafelson film, “Stay Hungry”. It is the very last shot of the film. It is also the last shot in the trailer, as well. The shot shows a body builder posing on each of the horizonal levels of the fire escapes. The painted Lyric sign (on the upper wall) and some of the marquee and vertical sign are shown. The letter board on the marquee states: AL GOLDSTEIN FELICITY SPLIT IT HAPPENED IN HOLLYWOOD (a rating, I’m assuming, is unreadable to the right of the film title.) According to previous posts, the Lyric showed adult films in the l970’s. It’s a great movie. “Stay Hungry”, that is…

DonLewis
DonLewis on November 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm

From the early 1900s a night time postcard view of Third Avenue along with the Bijou Theater in Birmingham.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on October 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Thanks again Don.

jjmaccrimmon
jjmaccrimmon on October 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Thank you for sharing this beautiful.

DonLewis
DonLewis on October 19, 2010 at 9:28 am

From the 1940s a photo postcard view of downtown Birmingham that captured a view of the Lyric Theater.

Bhamwiki
Bhamwiki on May 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm

The Lyric Theatre has a new website up:

http://www.lyricfineartstheatre.com/

jjmaccrimmon
jjmaccrimmon on December 3, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Ladies and gents, I just posted a group of interior photos from the Lyric (http://jj-maccrimmon.livejournal.com/611040.html) in my blog.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on November 4, 2009 at 9:45 am

Records show a Kilgen pipe organ opus 3459 at the Lyric.

Lak
Lak on October 12, 2009 at 7:43 am

I was in Birmingham over the weekend, and was surprised to see how abandoned and unkept this section of the city seems to be. It will be hard to get investors to back the Lyric project until the city cleans the area up a bit! The Alabama across the street is beautiful though!

jjmaccrimmon
jjmaccrimmon on July 28, 2009 at 4:41 am

On July 18th, accompanied by two assistants, I had the opportunity extensively photograph the Lyric and Alabama Theater (across the street). The photos were taken to compare and contrast the condition of the two theaters and includes a number of wide angle, long exposure images that bring out the detail and vivid color on the inside of both grand old theaters. I’ll post links here to the site the images will be uploaded to. Over 400 photos were taken between the two sites, including backstage, below the stage, storage and mechanical areas, balconies and more. It’s taking a bit to sort out.

Bhamwiki
Bhamwiki on July 1, 2009 at 10:41 am

I’ve got a small article up on Bhamwiki about this theater: http://www.bhamwiki.com/w/Lyric_Theatre

There are several views of the interior on Flickr as well. View link

The current estimate is that a full restoration will cost around $20 million. The major fund-raising push hasn’t quite yet been launched, but time isn’t the Lyric’s friend. Individual donors will help generate support for bigger sponsorships, grants and other funding, so don’t be shy about helping out – View link

jjmaccrimmon
jjmaccrimmon on May 19, 2009 at 7:00 am

Open House FREE!

Start Date: 6/7/2009 2:00:00 PM
Details
Tours will include the new Hill Arts Center Banquet Hall, the new Hill Center Meeting Room still under construction and tours of the Alabama and Lyric Theatres. Walk on the Lyric stage and walk back in history where the greats of Vaudeville walked.
You will hear music from the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ all afternoon played by members of the theatre organ staff. Our organ crew chief Larry Donaldson will be on hand to answer questions and let you peek into the secret organ chambers to see how it all works. Our Technical Director Jeff Kizziah will be in the projection booth to let you see how the picture gets on the screen. Volunteers will be stationed throughout the theatre to answer questions.

Refreshments will be in the Alabama Theatre and Hill Center. Holly Burrow of the Hill Center will be available to answer questions and provide literature about the new center.

** From the Alabama Theatre Calendar (5/19/09)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 29, 2007 at 11:01 am

This is another vintage view and here is a recent photo

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 31, 2007 at 11:09 am

A Kilgen theater organ opus 3459 size 2/4 was installed in the Lyric Theater in 1925.

celloman
celloman on August 11, 2007 at 9:29 am

For a history of downtown Birmingham, AL theatres, go to to birminghamrewound.com.

This past weekend I was at the beautifully restored Alabama Theatre in Birmingham for one of the summer classic movies and featuring the Mighty Wurlitzer. What a day! On a table in the lobby was a handout sheet about the Lyric Theatre which is just across the street but has been closed for some time. This is part of it.

RESTORING THE LYRIC
The Lyric Theatre is now owned by Birmingham Landmarks Inc. Landmarks owns and operates the Alabama Theatre complex. Landmarks' plans are to restore the Lyric Theatre to its former glory and operate the theatre as a performing arts house. The Lyric will seat approximately 1,200 patrons with an excellent view of the stage. In addition, the stage has wing space needed for plays, opera, and musical presentations.

Considering that the Lyric has not been used and has sat idle for many years, the theatre is structurally sound and maintains much of its original decor. The balcony rails, the proscenium and side decorations, fire curtain, and mural “Allegories Of Spring,” painted by local artist and interior diesigner Harry H. Hawkins, give the viewer a hint of the Lyric’s glory days.

The Lyric Theatre was advertised to open its doors on Jan. 12, 1914. Due to an injunction filed by the Orpheum Theatre (Third Ave. and Seventeenth St.) the Lyric opened Jan. 14, 1914. The dispute centered around the fact that both the Orpheum and Lyric Theatres had a vaudeville booking contract with B.F. Keith Shows. The Lyric would present B.F. Keith Big Time Vaudeville from 1914 until the opening of the Ritz Theatre in 1926. Some of the show business legends to perform on the Lyric stage were Sophie Tucker (during second week the threatre opened) Gus Edward’s Kid Kabaret with George Jessel and Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, Buster Keaton with the Keaton Family acrobats, Milton Berle, and Mae West. In the fifties, both Roy Rogers and Gene Autry appeared live on stage at the Lyric.

Changes in ownership and the depression took their toll. From time to time, the Lyric showed lower grade movies and was not the best place to go to see a movie. In the late 50’s the Lyric closed its doors. The lobby would be used for retail space and the theatre would be vacant. In 1972, a group of young businessmen reopened the theatre as the Grand Bijou Theatre showing classic movies. After the Grand Bijou closed, the Lyric ended its operation as the Foxy and later Roxy Adult Clnema, now closed.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 21, 2007 at 6:55 pm

This is a vintage photo of the Lyric Theater.