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Our case studies

The Lyric Theatre - Birmingham, AL

Raising more than $7 million to restore an ornate and beautiful community landmark back to its original glory. Last open in 1958, the Lyric Theatre is back.

Restoring a historic landmark, revitalizing downtown

Summary

Built in 1914 for B.F. Keith’s Vaudeville circuit, the Lyric is one of few theatres still existing today that was specifically designed to maximize the acoustics and close seating needed for vaudeville shows. Major stars such as the Marx Brothers, Mae West, Sophie Tucker, Will Rogers and Milton Berle played the Lyric. Berle said it was “as fine a theatre as any in New York.” In the summertime, air was fanned over two tons of ice a day to keep guests cool. Though seating was segregated, the Lyric was one of the first venues in the South where blacks and whites could watch the same show at the same time for the same price.The Lyric was once the finest performing arts theatre in Birmingham and through its restoration made possible by the Light up the Lyric fundraising camapign, it promises to be again.

"It means stability for an anchor piece of property that has been vacant and fallen into disrepair. It adds pedestrian traffic to that street. It’s going to make that section of 18th Street more vibrant." -- Mark Elgin, Stonegate Realty

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