Lyric Theatre

300 E. 3rd Street,
Lexington, KY 40508

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Lyric Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Art Deco style of the Lyric Theatre and it’s marquee lit up the corner of E. 3rd Street and Elm Tree Lane from the early-1940’s.

A leading entertainment center in the African-American community, the Lyric Theatre hosted first-run films, black films and entertainers like The Temptations, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, The Ink Spots, and Redd Foxx.

The Lyric Theatre’s decline began with the integration of Lexington’s other theatres and it closed in 1963.

The property became part of a dispute between a private owner and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, which sought to condemn it in order to bring the property into the public domain and restore it to usefulness in the community.

The Lyric Theatre is not listed in the Film Daily Yearbook, 1941 (main list) but it is listed in the ‘Negro Theatres’‘ section. It is listed in the FDY, 1950 in both the main list and 'Negro Theatres’ section.

The Lyric Theatre was reopened as a performing arts center on October 30, 2010.

Contributed by Lost Memory, KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 14, 2009 at 2:59 am

Here is an anti-renovation viewpoint:
http://tinyurl.com/cw4cw9

ckingiii
ckingiii on October 30, 2010 at 2:09 am

The Lyric Theatre officially opens tomorrow: View link

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on July 18, 2016 at 2:27 am

Functions should also include: Movies (classic)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 26, 2017 at 3:14 am

The Notable Kentucky African Americans Database says this of the Lyric Theatre (about 1/3 of the way down this web page under the heading “Early African American Theaters in Lexington, KY”):

“In 1947, the American Theater Corporation in Indianapolis opened the Lyric Theatre at the corner of Third Street and Elm Tree Lane in Lexington. When the theater opened, it was billed as ‘the nation’s finest colored theater.’ There were movies and live entertainment from greats such as Big Maybelle, the Oreos, Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, and many others. The Lyric Theater closed in 1963….”

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