Lyric Theatre

1029 Central Avenue,
Kansas City, MO 64105

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Lyric Theatre

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The Nobles of the Ararat Temple opened a 3,000 seat auditorium on December 18, 1926.

During World War Two, the building was owned by the American Red Cross. The center was stripped of seats and the building used as a blood collection center for the war effort. After World War Two, the theatre was used for legitimate shows and was renamed Playhouse. and then later the Victoria Theatre.

In 1959, the Durwood Theatre organization(AMC) reopened it as the 700 seat Capri Theatre, with the movie “South Pacific” in Todd-AO. In 1964, the screen was slashed during corporate-union turmoil;Durwood used non-union projectionists and fired striking stagehands.

The Capri Theatre was large, elegant and showy. The accoustics were perfect and the sightlines great. Arched doors lead into the small but impressive lobby. Above the doors is a colonnade of fluted Corinthian columns and windows. Inside, the decor was a combination of conservative burgundy and cream shades.

The Capri Theatre remained a mainstay in Kansas City movie theatres until 1972. Then, opera and symphony displaced movies, and the theatre was renamed the Lyric Theatre. Opera and symphony will move to the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts when it is completed.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

seymourcox on September 15, 2009 at 7:43 pm

This site has several vintage photos of the Lyric, along with other KC theatres -
View link

JimS1 on December 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Any one remember where these road shows played in Kansas City?

Camelot, Paint Your Wagon, West Side Story.

For some reason, I believe West Side was at the Plaza. Anyone able to confirm? I didn’t move to KC until 1976 and that was after the days of the road show.
I know the Capri was home to Cleopatra, My Fair Lady and the Midland had The Sound of Music and Funny Girl.

RobbKCity on August 4, 2011 at 7:11 am

The Kansas City Star recently published an article stating that the University of Missouri-Kansas City is exploring moving the Conservatory of Music and Dance from the campus to downtown’s Lyric Theater, and use it as a student rehearsal and performance space.

rivoli157 on November 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm

anyone know where the roadshow engagement of “Star!” played in Kansas City?

cerjda01 on July 23, 2012 at 12:58 am

OK roadshow runs in KC. I know I went to all of them just about. Still have a buncha programs from them someplace. Capri – Cleopatra / Fall of the Roman Empire / Doctor Zhivago / My Fair Lady / Circus World / Paint Your Wagon / Camelot / The Shoes of the Fisherman Midland – Sound of Music / The Bible / Doctor Doolittle / Man of LaMancha / Hawaii Empirt – Patton / Chitty Chitty Bang Bang / Far from the Madding Crowd / Ice Station Zebra / Grand Prix / How the West was Won / Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World Glenwood – Sound of Music (subrun-roadshow)/ Is Paris Burning / Oliver! / Star! / Song of Norway / Hello Dolly West Side Story did play the Plaza – unusual booking and Lawrence of Arabia played at a theatre called the Saxon according to the KC Star (even tho is was on strike at the time of the run) and Yeah! I’m old but I know my movies and my theatres in KC.

jimseabough on October 26, 2012 at 2:32 am

To answer rivoli157 I am pretty sure STAR! played at the Glenwood in Overland Pk, Ks… Is Paris Burning? was the first roadshow to play the Glenwood. Hello, Dolly! Oliver! and the 70MM Gone With the Wind played the Glenwood. As for the Saxon Theatre, that was actually the Midland when it went thru a brief name change in the 60’s.

jimseabough on October 26, 2012 at 2:33 am

Sorry! Just read cerjda01 who got it right and was here first…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 28, 2013 at 4:48 am

The NRHP nomination form for the Eleventh Street Historic District, which includes the Lyric Theatre, says that the Ararat Shrine Temple was designed by the Kansas City architectural firm of Owen, Sayler, & Payson. William Sayler had joined the firm in 1925. Prevously, Albert S. Owen and Charles H. Payson had been partnered with Robin B. Carswell, and in 1923 the firm of Owen, Payson, & Carswell had designed another Masonic building which would become a theater and be listed on the NRHP: the Temple Theatre at Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

Infanma on July 7, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Saw many roadshows there as a kid. I specifically remember Paint Your Wagon. Great place. The last time I was in there was for a jazz concert in the 1970s

KCB3Player on August 16, 2014 at 12:58 am

Is there any updates for the Lyric Theater – it would be perfect for UMKC and there is plenty of space to expand. It would be sad to loose another historic downtown Kansas City Theater.

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