Lyric Live Theater

117 First Street
Newburg, MO 65550


The Lyric Live Theater, operated by the Regional Opera Company was constructed as a movie theater during the era of silent movies. It occupies the same block as the oldest existing building in the city, the Houston House, built in 1883 and is next door to the old Sullivan Hotel, which was built soon after the Houston House. Newburg, a city developed by the Frisco Railroad, was given a birthday of 1884 by the local citizens. The railroad workers brought their families to the new city, businesses soon followed, and Newburg was looked on as a boomtown.

The city of Newburg sold the theater building in 1957 to a group of businessmen, and the local lumber company used it for storage. After the group purchased the building, the Lyric marquee and the playbill cases were removed from the front of the building, and the sunburst window over the front door remained boarded over. A photograph taken about 1976 shows the building in a state of disrepair.

In 1983, “Jay D. Turley” —a playwright, director, and producer from Blackwater, Missouri, with Hollywood and Arrow Rock experience—recognized the value of the old Lyric Theater to the Newburg community. Mr. Turley purchased the building and on October 24, 1983, held a public meeting at the local Newburg School for the purpose of renaming the building and asking for volunteers to help clean up the building and to perform on stage. A sign was painted and placed on the building during this time calling it “Opera House.” The name chosen for the theater at this meeting was “Regional Opera Company.” Antique light fixtures from Mr. Turley’s collection were installed in the lobby and auditorium. Plumbing was installed, and two restrooms were built in the old building. The sunburst window over the door was uncovered in 1991 and the original glass was still intact.
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