Lyric Theatre

135 N. Illinois Street,
Indianapolis, IN 46204

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Chris1982 on June 5, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Now a parking garage and retail on the first level.

DavidPalmquist on December 20, 2013 at 11:34 am

Hmm. I should have used Google more effectively. I found the same picture on Scotty Moore’s web page, where he dates it March 23, 1929.

DavidPalmquist on December 20, 2013 at 11:20 am

The photo was likely taken around March 20 1929 when Anna Q. Nilsson’s picture “Blockade” appeared. The March 20, 1929 Indianapolis News carried an ad for ‘6 Big Vaudeville Acts, FEATURING JIMMY ALLARD AND COMPANY IN “JOURNEY’S END” A Sensational Laugh Hit" “On the Screen BLOCKADE With Anna Q. Nilsson”

The ad carries a small plug in its banner saying “where the crowds go” and it gives the theatre hours as 12:30 to 11.

The June 14 1929 Reading (Penn.) Times says the picture was a thrilling melodrama of the secret service, staged on the high seas and featured talking, music and sound effects. Typically, theatres in the 1920s and 1930s featured both live vaudeville and a film, and that is the case here.

According to the March 16 1932 Altoona Tribune, Anna Querentia Nilsson’s career began in one and two reel comedies for the Kalem company 20 years previously. She was in “countless” films, but mainly remembered for the 1923 “Panjola.” She broke her hip and returned to Sweden, and seems to have been trying to make a comeback in 1932. on December 2, 2013 at 4:52 am

Yeah Stephen. Most of that is from the Historical society I believe. Had it up here for awhile now Check out Paul’s pix too. Thanks. on September 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Thanks Paul. My email is at the bottom of each of the pages on Scotty’s site too if that helps, just click on my name.

pauln32 on September 10, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Hi Jimroy, I also found a picture of my Mother with Carl Smith backstage at the Lyric. I’ll post or get them to you a little later this week. —Paul on September 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Many thanks for the history of the theater you’ve presented here. I used much of it for a page for Scotty Moore’s website today about his appearances there with Elvis in 1955 I would very much like to see the pix pauln32 has of Faron Young and Ray Price there. Send me an email if you would. Thanks again

thirteen on July 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm

I saw South Pacific at the Lyric in 1958. The interior had been redecorated and a lot of plastic flowers with lights beneath them decorated the front of the orchestra pit. Looked kind of tacky.

pauln32 on January 9, 2013 at 5:21 am

My Mother Kathy Hodges (Norris) worked at the Lyric makeing out the checks for the stars who performed there sometime in the 1950’s. I have a few photos of hers that I think were taken at the Lyric of Farren Young and Ray Price. Mom was asked if she wanted to go out with a man named Elvis Presley at the time that he sang there in 1955. She told me that she declined because of the sound of his name. I wish that I could have seen the Lyric at the time she worked there.

JaneSwint on January 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I am wondering – at which theater “Gone With the Wind” make its Indianapolis premier?

deanebrown on November 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I was manager of the Lyric in the late 50’s until it closed. I’m suer that the photo was in the 30’s not the 50’s. Note the ages of the cars in front. In the 50’s it also had a new marque. I was there for about 4 years. We had “The All-Star Jamboree” every Sunday. Played Elvis with Hank Snow plus the Carter Family in 1955.

lvs on March 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

Peter – I only just saw your note about “Lilly Ott who played in the Ziegfeld Follies during 1914 and was also a member of the Kinkaid Kilties players” —–

I’m one of her granddaughters —– what sort of information are you looking for and what got you interested? How do I contact you?

Paulpage on February 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

I was the last manager of the Lyric. It was part of a group, Indianapolis Amusement, that included the Circle and Indiana theaters which still stand. When I arrived it was ahard ticket house. “Shoes of the Fisherman” and “Where eagles dare” we’re the last two films played there. It was a regal beauty. The basement still housed rehearsal areas and dressing rooms. Those rooms had the names of cities on the door but I never knew why. Any organ was long since gone.

kencmcintyre on June 25, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Here is a May 1917 ad from the Indianapolis Star:

RubyTrio on June 11, 2009 at 1:58 pm

My great aunts were in vaudeville and played the Lyric during the week of Christmas, 1921. How sad that it has been long gone…

kencmcintyre on December 12, 2008 at 11:29 am

Here is an item from Boxoffice magazine, May 1950:

Indianapolis youngsters turned out en masse for a special morning show promoted by Frank Paul, manager of the Lyric Theater. Easy Gwynn, popular disk jockey, sponsored a stage giveaway for the kids including Peter Rabbit’s Cottontail albums and passes.

petermetzke on September 29, 2008 at 4:11 am

Lost Memory
Many thanks for sharing the 1955 photo, a marked difference to the others especially the position of the marquee ( moved to the right & directly under the window ) plus the new shape.
Interesting was the mention of Roy Acuff – On Stage Today, back in the 30’s & 40’s he was known to millions as the King of Country Music living to a good age of 89, he passed away in Nashville in 1992.
The 1927 Marr and Colton theatre pipe organ ( mentioned top of page) sounds interesting, a two manual model Marr and Colton was installed at the Arcada Theatre IL in the same year. I wonder if anyone can shine some light on the whereabouts of the four manual organ mentioned – if it at all exists today ?.

petermetzke on August 17, 2008 at 1:58 am

Another vintage image of the Lyric Theatre can be found in the link below, on the marquee among other features is “ The Kinkaid Kilties ” plus “ Blockade ” released in 1928 featuring the swedish actress Anna Q Nilsson ( 1888-1974 ).

View link

I am looking for information on Lilly Ott who played in the Ziegfeld Follies during 1914 and was also a member of the Kinkaid Kilties players if anyone can help.

kencmcintyre on July 19, 2006 at 3:38 pm

Here is a photo of the Lyric and the adjacent Ambassador:

lyrictheatre on November 16, 2005 at 4:52 am

I am currently looking for someone to help with the cost of publishing The Complete History of the Lyric Theatre of Indianapolis.
My late Uncle Gene Gladson was a theatre historian in Indianapolis and the Lyric was his pet project, trying to save it plus gathering any and all information on it, along with every performance that ever took place there!
I also have the orginial book entitled “Indianapolis Theatres A – Z for sale.You can contact me at or go by the website at and purchase it online.