BUSINESS

New Life for The Lyric​: Oxford venue prepares for spring concerts and new cocktail bar addition

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Lindsly Penny
Oxford Stories
lgpenny@go.olemiss.edu

The Lyric is undergoing changes and will open a cocktail bar this summer.  The venue recently added a marquee with changeable letters to inform the public about events.

“Construction is moving in phases, so the building is still able to be used,” said Katie Kaczmarz, marketing manager. “It will actually feel done to attendees within the next month or so, but a new cocktail bar will open this summer.”

The new cocktail bar in the lobby area will be open to the public even when concerts and private events are not taking place, bringing in more business.

The next renovation phase will involve the theater’s green rooms that are used by visiting artists before concerts. Leaders hope this will make the venue more attractive to performers.

Other renovations will include better catering spaces for private events, such as weddings, receptions and formals. This will create more incentive for private parties to book events at the venue.

This spring, The Lyric welcomes a wide array of acts to the stage including Tyler Childers, Shakey Graves, STRFKR, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Corey Smith, and Ben Rector. They have already welcomed comedian Fred Armisen, a famous member of the Saturday Night Live cast and a Mississippi native, and country concerts like Morgan Wallen.

Cory Sullivan, a Lyric employee, said he was excited about the Armisen show. “We don’t get acts like him in Oxford very often,” he said. “He was such a hilarious and friendly guy, and even stayed around after the show for a free meet and greet. The Lyric booking an act like Fred showed how much they really listen to the voice of the Oxford community and want to make the people happy.”

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The Lyric’s new marquee at the Fred Armisen show. Photo by Lindsly Penny.

The Lyric offers a variety of acts from country to alternative music and tries to book acts that will appeal to many audiences.

Nicole Sardi, a marketing intern at The Lyric, said the venue is a place where people from different backgrounds converge to sing along to the same songs.

“Music is so important to me (as it is to many others), and a place like this is so important for our community to have,” she said. “I am very thankful to work at a place that brings so much joy to people.”

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Posters of upcoming shows at The Lyric. Photo by Lindsly Penny.

One of the upcoming spring acts, Ben Rector, will perform at The Lyric on Sunday, March 24. According to his biography on thelyricoxford.com, Rector plays pop music with a purpose. He began touring eight years ago and made the Top 20 on the Billboard Album Chart two years ago. He has four albums and hundreds of songs, including his most recent chart-topper “Brand New.” Visit benrectormusic.com for more information.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones will also be returning to Oxford after playing at The Lyric during Double Decker festival last spring. According to stpaulandthebrokenbones.com, they are a rock and roll soul band based out of Birmingham, Alabama.

Paul Janeway, the band’s lead singer, is quoted on the website saying, “I’ve always been the artsy weirdo in the family. When you’re from Alabama, you have to go out of your way to make people understand that you think a little differently. But we’re an Alabama band — it’s who we are.”

The website also refers to the band’s most recent record as a musical kaleidoscope of flavors that covers a lot of ground.

“I love St. Paul,” said Kaczmarz. “They were such a great time last year and always bring the best energy to the stage. The Lyric has so many awesome shows happening this spring, and we’re so excited for everyone to see the complete renovations this summer.”

The Lyric Oxford has seen many people enter its doors since it was first built in the 1800s. Before it became a theater, it served as a livery stable owned by William Faulkner’s family.

It was later named The Lyric and became Oxford’s first movie theater. After it ceased operations as a movie theater in the 1970s, it was abandoned for several years until it was converted into office space.

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It was not until 2007 that The Lyric was restored to its original glory and began operating again as a theater in 2008, according to thelyricoxford.com.

Follow The Lyric on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @TheLyricOxford and visit their website www.thelyricoxford.com for more information on upcoming shows and bookings.

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