Lyric Theatre

1029 Central Avenue,
Kansas City, MO 64105

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Lyric Theatre

The Nobles of the Ararat Temple opened a 3,000 seat auditorium on December 18, 1926.

During World War II, the building was owned by the American Red Cross. The center was stripped of seats and the building used as a blood collection center for the war effort. After World War II, the theatre was used for legitimate shows and was renamed Playhouse. and then later the Victoria Theatre.

In 1959, the Durwood Theatre organization(AMC) reopened it as the 700 seat Capri Theatre, with the movie “South Pacific” in Todd-AO. In 1964, the screen was slashed during corporate-union turmoil;Durwood used non-union projectionists and fired striking stagehands.

The Capri Theatre was large, elegant and showy. The acoustics were perfect and the sightlines great. Arched doors lead into the small but impressive lobby. Above the doors is a colonnade of fluted Corinthian columns and windows. Inside, the decor was a combination of conservative burgundy and cream shades.

The Capri Theatre remained a mainstay in Kansas City movie theatres until 1972. Then, opera and symphony displaced movies, and the theatre was renamed the Lyric Theatre. Opera and symphony moved to the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts when it was completed in 2011, and in 2014 the Lyric Theatre is unused. The auditorium was demolished and only the façade remains.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

jimseabough
jimseabough on October 25, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Sorry! Just read cerjda01 who got it right and was here first…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm

The NRHP nomination form for the Eleventh Street Historic District, which includes the Lyric Theatre, says that the Ararat Shrine Temple was designed by the Kansas City architectural firm of Owen, Sayler, & Payson. William Sayler had joined the firm in 1925. Prevously, Albert S. Owen and Charles H. Payson had been partnered with Robin B. Carswell, and in 1923 the firm of Owen, Payson, & Carswell had designed another Masonic building which would become a theater and be listed on the NRHP: the Temple Theatre at Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

Infanma
Infanma on July 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Saw many roadshows there as a kid. I specifically remember Paint Your Wagon. Great place. The last time I was in there was for a jazz concert in the 1970s

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher on August 15, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Is there any updates for the Lyric Theater – it would be perfect for UMKC and there is plenty of space to expand. It would be sad to loose another historic downtown Kansas City Theater.

spectrum
spectrum on January 1, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Looks like the building is closed since the Opera company moved to the Kauffmann in 2011. Their website does not indicate if they still own the building or what its current status is.

midtown_kc
midtown_kc on January 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm

I believe UMKC is building a new building for the Conservatory of Music and Dance close to the Kauffman Center. The Lyric Theatre was purchased by DST Systems, Inc.

aeast
aeast on July 13, 2016 at 8:43 pm

The 1959 “Ben-Hur” ran a solid year at the Capri. Other runs: “Porgy and Bess” and the Glenn Ford “Cimarron.”

midtown_kc
midtown_kc on July 24, 2018 at 3:57 pm

This building will be revamped into a YMCA. Very sad.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 29, 2020 at 9:08 am

2019 construction photo added credit Jeff Weis‎.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 29, 2020 at 6:28 pm

The news that the building would be converted into a YMCA was false. Only the front section of the building survives. The auditorium has been razed and a new structure erected in its place. The Lyric Theatre is gone.

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