Lyric gets new home in renovated Plaza Theatre 

In the Thirties, the Plaza Theatre was considered state-of-the-art and was lauded for being Oklahoma's first air-conditioned theater. But for decades, the building was abandoned and left to ruin, occupied only by rats unconcerned with the theater's history and architecture.

Nearly 30 years after closing its doors and $3.5 million in construction later, a new neon sign and digital marquee welcome Oklahoma City audiences to the renovated Plaza Theatre, the new musical-theater stage home of Lyric Theatre.

Planning for the project began in 1999, when Lyric acquired the theater, an adjacent building and an empty grocery store on N.W. 16th Street, hoping to find a permanent home for the company, which has been "nomadically" moving around the metro since being founded in 1963, according to Amy Russo, the company's marketing director and spokeswoman.

NEW SPACE
Until 2002, Lyric was using the Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Auditorium at Oklahoma City University to stage musicals, Russo said. Although not formally associated with the university, the company didn't have offices of its own until 2002, instead using whatever space could be found on campus or elsewhere.

"The time just came for us to have our own space under our control," she said.

The Plaza Theatre renovation was completed just a few weeks ago and already is hosting stage time for the holiday-themed "Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings," the company's inaugural musical.

"It's such a wonderful space," she said. "It's so great to finally have a home."

"?Joe Wertz

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