Built in 1913 in Miami’s historic Overtown neighborhood, the Lyric became the entertainment anchor of “Little Boradway.” It was owned and operated by Geder Waller until 1919 and then by his wife, Henrietta, until 1959. It has hosted such entertainment luminaries as Count Bassie, Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle. It was added to the National Register of Historc Places in 1989 and reopened in early 2014.
The 400 seat
Lyric originally hosted sient movies, vaudville shows, and numerous African-American
entertainers who were permitted to perform in Miami, but were not permitted to
stay in the city’s hotels. After it shut
its doors in the early 1960s, the theater fell into disrepair and became an
unofficial shelter for Miami’s homeless population. It was then purchased by the Black Archives
and money was raised to renovate the venerable old theater, which reopened in
through another series of renovations in 2004 which added a new lobby, box
office, concessions area and administrative offices. However, financial issues forced it to close,
once again, in 2010. It re-reopened in
February of 2014 as the Black Archives Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex and
reclaimed its spot as Miami’s olderst theater.