Lyric Theatre

907 High Street,
Portsmouth, VA 23704

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gened on December 6, 2012 at 9:33 am

Was this the one that later housed Sutton furniture and you could walk into the store and still see the top of the old movie screen on the back wall….? I worked at the auto parts store in the 800 block and remember walking in there back in the 70s

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm

According to this web page, the Lyric Theatre had two successive locations: 401 Chestnut Street and 907 High Street. It says the Chestnut Street location opened in 1939, but also quotes a December, 1939, newspaper item saying that the Lyric Theatre was participating in a PTA Christmas program for the second year in a row, so maybe it was actually open by late 1938.

The first Lyric was destroyed by a fire, and the new High Street location was in operation by 1945. The facade of the second Lyric is still standing, but the page says that the roof of the building is gone. There are photos of both locations.

Portsmouth Virginia, by Cassandra L. Newby Alexander and Mae Breckenridge-Haywood (Google Books preview) says that the Lyric, along with two other houses in the neighborhood, the Bland and the Capitol, catered to African American audiences.