January 12, 1914
The Lyric suffered an ominous start to its opening in Birmingham when theater tycoon Karl Hoblitzelle, who may have had an interest in the Majestic, secured an injunction on this day over a disagreement on the Lyric’s opening acts. That action prevented its opening for two days, an event that was reported in the national entertainment magazine Variety. The theater, despite its tumultuous start, was one of the nicest theaters in the Magic City. The Lyric was a stop on the vaudeville circuit created by Benjamin Franklin Keith, who had used his time with P.T. Barnum’s circus to craft a unique brand of variety theater. In its early years, the Lyric hosted soon-to-be famous entertainers such as the Marx Brothers, Mae West, Sophie Tucker, Will Rogers, Jack Benny and many others.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.