The Lyric Theater opened in 1948, originally built as a movie-house in the Art Deco style. It quickly became a cultural icon and fostered the height of entertainment for Lexington’s African American community. It hosted movies, fashion shows, vaudeville acts, local concerts, and pageants, and was Lexington’s center stage for Jazz, Soul and R&B music in the 1950s.
Notable performers include B.B. King, Wynonie Harris (wrote Good Rocking Tonight, recorded by Elvis Presley), Mercer Ellington (son of Duke Ellington), and Billy Brown, who formed The Checkers and recorded for King Records. The Lyric also hosted Count Basie and Ray Charles. A variety of small, Black-owned businesses flourished around the Lyric Theater. It closed in 1963, and was dormant for nearly 50 years before it reopened in 2010.
Today the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center's mission is to preserve, promote, present, and celebrate diverse cultures through artistic presentations of the highest quality, educational programming and outreach, film, and opportunities for community inclusion.
To see the events, films, and music the Lyric is offering today, follow this link to the website.