The Lyric Live Theater in Newburg celebrated the 100th anniversary of the historic building today with a ribbon cutting.
While the role of the building has changed several times over the past century, for the past 36 years, it has been a place to showcase local and regional talent through a variety of plays, musicals, talent shows and concerts, as well as a venue to bring traveling performers from around the state — and around the world — to Phelps County. Performances scheduled this month include:
— Bliss Hippy performs at 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $15. Bliss Hippy was created by Rolla musicians Richard and Maureen Hall in 1990, establishing a style of music they call “psychedelic folk.” The singing/songwriting duo has recorded several albums and garnered several awards, including the 2014 Great American Song Contest, a competition that receives more than 5,000 submissions annually.
— “The Veep” a stage play written by the current theater company’s late founder, Jay Turley, will be performed by a local volunteer cast at 7 p.m. July 19, 20, 26 and 27. Admission is free.
According to the theater’s website, the building located at 117 First Street in Newburg was constructed as a silent-movie theater in 1919 by a local doctor. Then known as The Community Theater, it welcomed live performances from traveling theater companies and performers arriving from the nearby railroad as well as theater productions, school programs and graduations in addition to showing films.
Entertaining audiences through the 1920s, 30s and the first half of the 1940s, the theater struggled to attract audiences in the post-war years and seemingly closed its doors as a theater for good in 1955. Used as a warehouse for a time, it was boarded up and fell into disrepair.
Then, in 1983, Turley, a Missouri native and playwright with professional experience in Hollywood, purchased the building and organized a volunteer theater group, the Regional Opera Company, to clean it up and transform it into a venue for local productions.
The company’s first performance opened in December 1983, and volunteers continued to perform a number of plays each year throughout the 1980s and 90s, including several written and directed by Turley himself. Before he retired, Turley, who ran the theater until 1997, sold the building to the Regional Opera Company, which has kept it going ever since.
The theater’s current season continues through October. For a complete schedule, or for more information, about the Lyric Live Theater, call 573.364.9663 or visit www.lyriclive theater.com.
(Editor’s note: Information provided by the Lyric Live Theater and www.lyriclivetheater.com.)