History & Renovation
The Plaza Theatre opened its doors in 1935 backed by Paramount Pictures and operated by a subsidiary. Seating 900 at its opening, the novelty of being the first air conditioned theater in Oklahoma drew large crowds. The theater also boasted a massive Spanish Deco fireplace for the cold winter months. The Plaza fit right into this bustling commercial area of Oklahoma City.
A fun feature of the theater was the Rock-Ola Jukebox, a new innovation in 1935. The jukebox majestically rose from a hidden compartment onto a scalloped draped stage, and played amplified music during intermissions. Instead of records, this jukebox delivered the latest hit parade tunes via telephone line, while colorful "dancing" lights kept time with the melody. The theater closed its doors in 1979.
Lyric's renovation of the historic Plaza Theatre brings life back to this beloved neighborhood landmark. The Plaza Theatre fell into ruin for several decades, and is now transformed once again into a vibrant theatre venue playing to live audiences.
By preserving an important piece of Oklahoma City history, this rehabilitation project enhances the state's cultural assets and activities.
While Lyric's Summer Season will remain at the Civic Center, the renovated Plaza is ideal for year-round productions of rarely-performed musicals, plays, and new works, all in an intimate 279-seat setting. Further, the theatre stage is providing Lyric's Thelma Gaylord Academy students with the ultimate "classroom", giving them a perfect venue where they can showcase their talent.
Construction on the Plaza Theatre was completed in December 2007.