Lyric Theatre to get facelift with donations and matching grant

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) The legendary Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg will be getting a facelift soon, it's first since it re-opened in 1998.

The theater was selected by the Cabell Foundation in Richmond for a $74,000 matching grant. That means for every dollar raised over the next sixteen months, it will be matched, totaling $148,000.

The money coming into the Lyric Theatre will pay for several small projects, and some that are not so small.

Lyric Theatre Executive Director Susan Mattingly said, "We need to replace out HVAC. Many people who were at the theater over the Winter can attest that we had problems with our HVAC."

There will also be new stage rigging, and repairing plaster damage, carpets, and seats.

But the big changes you'll be able to see will be on the outside, with a new digital marquee replacing the current one.

"We also want to do some work on the facade to bring back the theater to it's original look with the window grills over the windows in the apartment above the marquee," Mattingly said.

She added the Lyric is very successful now, but this work could make it even bigger.

"It'll make The Lyric a more comfortable venue, better presentation, and it will allow us to compete a little more with other more commercial venues."

Many of the movie goers Wednesday evening were excited about the work, and said they can't wait to see the changes. But there was one concern.

Ena Wong said, "I think it's a little bit bittersweet because I think a lot of the charm of The Lyric comes from it's kind of old timey feel, even just the marquee, especially since it's not digital."

Mattingly responded to that concern, "We will be working with the Blacksburg Historic Architecture Review Board to make sure that we are in compliance with any historic regulations."

Mattingly also said she already has some private donations secured.

But the public phase kicks off Saturday July 15 at the Dirty Dancing 30th Anniversary Celebration where the theater will be asking for support.

To make donations before or after that, there is a link on the Lyric Theatre's home page, which is attached to this article under the Related Links section.