Exactly 102 years after the Lyric Theatre originally opened, a renaissance was realized. An audience again sat in the long empty auditorium and enjoyed a show much like one you would have seen in the roaring 20s. These images show the restored theatre, which will welcome guests for generations to come.
The Lyric celebrated its grand reopening January 14-16, 2016, with a modern vaudeville show that warranted sold out crowds and a standing ovation each night. al.com covered the event
As we move closer to our completion date, it’s exciting to see the Lyric coming together. Recently, our team has been using old ventilation tunnels to run audio visual conduit to the stage, as well as electric floor boxes for seat lighting. Opera box installation moves forward with EverGreene Architectural at the helm, and seating on the mezzanine level is being installed.
Imagine an intricate network of steel weighing 25 tons. Now imagine that it needs to be lifted 64 feet to hang above a stage. This was just the situation at the Lyric Theatre, where our crews were challenged to place the stage rigging, which will allow for more elaborate sets and performances down the road. We used two separate cranes, which were positioned in the street. The method was a “blind pick” meaning that the operators had no direct visual on what they were hoisting, only the communication of two way radios. As you can see, it went off without a hitch. Bring on the big shows!
Opera box construction and ornamentation is in full swing at the Lyric. Using the structural steel drawings, our team built plywood templates of the box shapes, then filled them with plaster to form the decorative elements. Several of these have set, and painting of the adorning cherubs has commenced. All of the opera box structures are complete, and full welds are being made back to supporting beams. Decking and concrete for the opera boxes is scheduled to be complete next week.
Stenciling at barrel vaults is moving forward. A photograph from a 1914 newspaper article was used to create the pattern.
While Evergreene’s stunning restoration work continues, steel crews are preparing the Lyric Theatre to handle additional loads. Current work will allow the opera boxes to be installed to original specifications, and also for a more modern stage fly.
The majority of the dance floor has been removed, but we did leave a portion to access the balcony transverse beam, where Evergreene will be stenciling. The restoration team is also plaster casting on the first floor, and painting as well.
The original Lyric Theatre featured 12 beautiful opera boxes. When Panavision came to the theatre in 1958, the opera boxes were torn down to make way for the screen. Since we are trying to restore the theatre to its original design, EverGreene has been tasked with recreating the boxes. Since we don’t have drawings of the old theatre, the plaster panels you see in images above modeled after old photographs of the Lyric. Once painted, they should be an incredible part of the audience chamber.