12952 Western Avenue,
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Lyric Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Balaban & Katz Corp., Publix Theaters Corporation
Functions: Event Center, Movies (Classic)
Styles: Streamline Moderne
Previous Names: Dream Street Theatre & Cabaret, Legacy Theatre, Oasis Edutainment Theatre
The Lyric Theatre was opened in 1917, and was located on Blue Island’s then main entertainment center, adjacent to the Grand Opera House. After a fire in 1924, the Grand Opera House was rebuilt as a movie house, showing mostly B-grade features, while the Lyric Theatre showed the more mainstream Hollywood films.
The Lyric Theatre was destroyed in a February 14, 1960 blaze which occurred during a children’s matinee. Fortunately, everyone in the Lyric Theatre escaped uninjured. It was rebuilt and reopened, and began to show lower and lower quality films before it was finally closed in the late-1980’s.
The theatre reopened in 1995 as the Dream Street Theatre, which presented both live entertainment and movies. In a year, the Dream Street closed and was later reopened again as the Legacy Theatre, as a live theatre venue. In late-2003, the theatre received a new name again, the Oasis Edutainment Theatre and underwent a $50,000 renovation.
The building sat unused for a number of years. By July 2022 it had reopened as an event centre and screens classic movies.
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Recent comments (view all 22 comments)
Man…I remember seeing He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword here along with Transformers the Movie (the animated one of course). Saw Flight of the Navigator here. Good times.
The current owner is the granddaughter of the long time owner. She is rallying support to try and re-open the theatre and is eager for community activism to do so. There is an upcoming meeting at the theatre. Sorry I don’t have that information currently.
Please visit facebook.com/thelyricmovienight for listings and times
Joe Vogel on April 16, 2010 at 11:25 pm Prior to its destruction by fire on St. Valentine’s Day in 1960, the Lyric was operated under lease by Publix Great States Theatres. The new house was to be leased to Square Amusement Co., a subsidiary of Great States.
I’m wondering of the seating capacity of 939 currently listed above was for the old Lyric? Two issues of Boxoffice (March 26, 1962, and February 4, 1963) each give the seating capacity of the rebuilt theater as 800. The 1962 item mentions that seats “…of the new wide variety….” were planned for the new Lyric.
The reason for the reduced seating capacity of the rebuilt theater was the new one didn’t have a balcony
This is likely the pre-fire Lyric facade.
There was an earlier Lyric Theatre that was next door to the Grand Opera House. Evidence in the vintage postcard posted to both pages.
Because Of The Blaze, The Theater Reopened On December 20, 1962.
Theatre should be changed to open! It is now an events venue
Here’s their new website: https://www.lyrictheater.com
January 26, 2023 Reader article.