Tag Archives: Spanish Flu

Lyric Theater once again threatened by a pandemic

The Lyric Theater is one of Birmingham’s Historic Landmarks and is also one of the few remaining theaters that was specifically designed for vaudeville shows. By 1918, four years after it opened, it had an active and popular schedule of events attracting stars including Mae West and The Marx Brothers, and was lauded by Milton Berle to be “as fine a theatre as any in New York.”

But in October 1918, according to booking records carefully preserved since its opening in 1914, it went dark for three weeks. (see below) It’s presumed that the Spanish Flu ravaged the city and forced cancellation of all events. Perhaps because of the very lethal nature of that epidemic, it burned out quickly, and the theater was able to reopen.

However, once again, the theater’s future is threatened by a global pandemic and this time the closing has been much longer than before. The Lyric and Alabama theaters have once again been forced to cancel events, eliminating the income upon which they depend.

According to their website:

WITHOUT YOUR HELP, WE’RE HISTORY

“The Alabama and Lyric Theatres depend on events for income, but the COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized the future of our historic venues. We need donations more than ever to make sure these Birmingham Landmarks survive this crisis.

If you’d like to help, please invest in the future of these Birmingham landmarks HERE. Or please consider including them in your holiday gift giving. Thanks!

Some Historical Perspective on Covid-19

Covid-19 is not Birmingham’s first epidemic. For a little historical perspective, and some information on how Birmingham coped in the past, please read our current newsletter! It includes memories of those who experienced the Spanish Flu of 1918.

continue reading here > Pandemic 2020

Want to JOIN the Birmingham Historical Society?