The Lyric Theater is a place I've always wanted to go and see. You wouldn't know a theater was even there when you look at the exterior of the building, It just looks like an old office building that has been abandoned like many of the buildings in downtown Birmingham.
managed to get one of the workers of the group working on this theater to open it up and let us go in and shoot pictures. When we first went in the lady showed us into the lobby. The lobby instead of being used just for the theater was also used for the office building the theater was housed in. When you walk through another set of doors you enter into the theater, or you can turn left and go up the stairs into the office building. Our guide after giving us a few quick facts asked us if we hand any questions and then gave us full run of the building!
We were allowed to go anywhere we wanted!
This photo is one set of stairways leading up to the second floor of the theater.
Want to know a little bit about the theater??
Taken from: [link]
Legendary theatrical promoter Jake Wells built the Lyric as a top-tier vaudeville house, with 1,200 great seats, magnificent acoustics and elegant decor, and it quickly became the premier venue in Birmingham. Vaudeville was the name used to describe the wildly eclectic, often bawdy variety shows that were the most popular form of entertainment in America before the coming of radio and sound films. All the greats played the Lyric Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Buster Keaton, George Burns, Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Sophie Tucker, Mae West, Billie Burke and the Marx Brothers.
The good times for the Lyric, and for vaudeville, came to an end with the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression. Wells lost his theatres, including the Lyric, to the mortgage company. The Schubert organization leased the Lyric and continued to present vaudeville, but the form was dying and, by the mid 1930s, the theatre was sold to the Waters family of Birmingham and became a second-run movie house. It closed in 1958 and has been largely unused since then.
In the 1990s, the Waters family donated the Lyric to Birmingham Landmarks. The estimated cost of the theatres renovation is $16.2 million, according to Whitmire. We have $4.5 million in historic tax credits, but those dont come until the end of the project, so we will have to get a lot of money and spend a lot of money before we can get that, he says. It is imperative that the renovation begin as soon as possible, Whitmire says, because the Lyric particularly its lush decorative plaster continues to succumb to the ravages of the elements, largely because the venue has no proper climate control.