Regional Theater of the Week: Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City, OK
By: Christina Mancuso
BroadwayWorld.com, the largest theatre site on the Internet, is excited to announce a new feature to its comprehensive regional coverage - the Featured Regional Theater of the Week! Each week, BWW will introduce its readers to a regional theater located in one of our (over 130!) coverage cities. By exploring these different venues, their history and showcasing the production seasons, BWW continues its commitment to expand our presence in communities and cities across the United States.
This Week's Featured Regional Theater: Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Founded in 1963, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma is the state's only professional, year-round musical theatre company. For 50 years, Lyric has produced classic and contemporary musicals and plays featuring both nationally known Broadway stars and local favorites.
Lyric was originally housed at Oklahoma City University and performed a four to five show season in OCU's Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Auditorium for many years. Lyric's first production, OKLAHOMA!, was performed in this auditorium in 1963. This auditorium housed all of Lyric's summer productions until 2002.
Lyric began experimenting with productions outside of its summer season in 1991 and used several theatrical venues around the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, such as the Omniplex (now Science Museum Oklahoma), Stage Center and the Freede Little Theatre at the Civic Center Music Hall. Some of these productions included A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS CAROL, CABARET, THE FANTASTICKS and I WANT MY 80'S MUSICAL.
Beginning in 2002, Lyric moved its summer season into the ThElma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre in the newly renovated Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City. Though the summer performances had moved to a new location, Lyric continued to produce the best of classic, as well as modern, musical theatre for audiences totaling more than 50,000 patrons.
In the winter of 2004, Lyric launched its Second Stage series. These shows were aimed at the adventurous theatergoer and featured mature, edgy content. This series was eventually absorbed by Lyric at the Plaza.
After raising $10 million during the Campaign for Lyric, renovations on the historic Plaza Theatre located on 16th Street in Oklahoma City were completed in December of 2007. The Plaza is now home to year-round productions of rarely-performed musicals, plays and new works, shown in its intimate, 270-seat setting.
In 2011, Lyric combined the Civic Center and Plaza series into one cohesive unit. Lyric now produces four smaller works in the Plaza Theatre during the spring, fall, and winter, as well as four large scale, fully orchestrated musicals at the Civic Center Music Hall each summer.
At the Plaza, the 2012 season included Xanadu, Spring Awakening, Bye Bye Birdie, Sweet Charity, Call Me Madam, Chita Rivera: My Broadway, and Lyric's A Christmas Carol. At the Civic Center played Tarzan, The King and I, The Will Rogers Follies, and Big River.
To learn more about the Lyric Theatre, visit: http://www.lyrictheatreokc.com/. Check out the video below outlining the 2013 season at the Lyric!
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