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Lyric Theater


Theaters Give Benefit Shows For the Needy Hundreds of Children Made Merry

     NEWPORT NEWS, VA— Three Peninsula theaters played Santa Claus to underprivileged children and needy families during the Christmas season, and, with cooperation of churches, schools, and organizations brought a measure of joy and happiness to many who could not be served through charitable agencies. 
           In Hampton, R.I. Lassiter, popular manager of the Lyric Theatre (Portsmouth), for the second year in succession, aided the Parent-Teacher Association of Union Street School in their Christmas program for deserving families.  The group sponsored a charity show at the Lyric, admission to which was an article of food or clothing, the collection of which was distributed by pupils in the Union and Greenbriar schools.  The pictures enjoyed were, “Peck’s Bad Roy at the Circus” and a Popeye cartoon. 
         The Lyric and Jefferson Theatres, the latter a Lichtman unit, cater exclusively to colored patronage.  The Lee serves patrons of both races.

Norfolk Journal and Guide
December 30, 1939, 11


“Lady Scarface” Among Lyric Hits

     PORTSMOUTH, VA—Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner co-star in the shocking drama, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” the number one feature at the Lyric Theatre this Friday and Saturday.  ON the same program is George Houston in “Lone Rider’s Round-Up.” 
         “Lady Scarface” with Judith Anderson and Dennis O’Keefe and “Billy the Kid Rides Again,” starring Dave O’Brien are the attractions for Sunday only. 
          The Monday-Tuesday show includes Boris Karloff in “Devil’s Island” and Sidney Blackmer in “The Panther’s Claw.” 

              Eleanor Powell and Robert Young in “Lady Be Good” and Tex Ritter in “Rolling Plains” are the feature pictures for next Wednesday and Thursday.  Also on the program is the beginning of a new serial, “Return of Chan Du.”

Norfolk Journal and Guide
April 3, 1943, 13



The Lyric Theater was born at 401 Chestnut Street in 1939.  The seats cascaded around the “hot blast stove” that heated the small theater.  After a fire destroyed the building, also claiming the life of the reel operator, the Lyric had reopened at 907 High Street by 1945.  The theater was locally owned by Solomon Soroko.

The above picture is of the first Lyric Theater taken in 1939.  Below, the Lyric is found at its relocated address on High Street.  From the Emmerson Collection.  Courtesy of Portsmouth Public Library.


High Street  - Lyric Theater 2001
Photo by Author

The marquee still stands, as shown here, but the interior is dilapidated and there is no
roof on the building. 


Chestnut Street - Lyric Theater 2001
Photo by Author

This vacant lot is all that remains of the movie theater that once occupied this corner of 
Queen and Chestnut Streets.

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