The group will still present its large plays at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre in the Cobb Civic Center Complex, but its new space, which is part of the old Theatre in the Square building owned by Councilman Philip Goldstein, known as the Alley Stage, will put on smaller shows, said Brandt Blocker, the artistic director and general manager of the Lyric.
“We obviously have a fondness for the Square, having performed on the Square for five years before,” Blocker said. “And we saw it as the perfect opportunity to expand.”
Goldstein said he is glad to see the Alley Stage filled again.
“It’s good to get them back up to the Square,” Goldstein said. “The more arts and entertainment we can have in the Square is certainly good for Marietta and Cobb County.”
Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin also said he is excited to see the Lyric in the Square.
“The intimate atmosphere of this venue will enhance and showcase the established talented performers and productions of the Lyric to the enjoyment of theater goers,” Tumlin said.
The Lyric was previously in The Earl Smith Strand Theatre from 2008 to 2013, when it left because the rent was too high, Blocker said.
Since then, ticket subscription sales have gone up, Blocker said, so the group is happy with its current location. He said he attributes the growth of its audience to the space in the Civic Center.
“Since going to the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre, we’re breaking records,” Blocker said. “When you’re doing well at the box office, that certainly helps.”
A new space for cabaret
The new space will be renamed The Lyric Studio Theatre in the Square and will put on weekly cabaret shows, smaller musical theater plays and educational programs for children, Blocker said. The theater will have its own entrance on Powder Springs Street.
The addition will be an “intimate setting” when interior renovations are complete, Blocker said, and will hold about 100 people including a few tables near the stage.
“We’re going to dress it up a little bit. We’re going to class it up a little bit,” he said.
The Lyric is applying for a beer and wine license to sell alcohol in the space, and Blocker said he will work with restaurants on the Square to provide hors d’oeuvre options to the audience.
The cabaret shows Blocker is planning will feature local artists — as well as visitors from New York, and will range in style from jazz to musical theater. Tickets to the shows will be $20, Blocker said. The group hopes to work with theatergoers to bring in who they want to see and encourages anyone who wants to perform there to let them know.
“We want this to be our patrons’ space,” Blocker said.
The theater is projected to be ready by July, Blocker said, and he plans on announcing its schedule of performances then.
The Lyric will have a storefront on the Square, Blocker said, and it will become a neighbor to the Young Actors Playhouse and Marietta Players, who occupy the main stage of the Theatre in the Square. Don Goodner, who created the theater groups, said he was happy to hear the news when the Marietta Daily Journal told him about the Lyric’s expansion.
“I love the Lyric, and they’re great people,” Goodner said. “I would love to think up new creative ideas with them.”
The Young Actors Playhouse is the largest children’s theater association in Georgia, Goodner said. The group has 150 enrolled children and has been occupying the 220-seat main stage of Theatre in the Square since March 2013.
This summer, the adults are putting on the play “The Full Monty” until June 15. It will also put on the show “August: Osage County” in August. The theater is conducting summer camps for children ages 5-13.
The Young Actors Playhouse group was the first to occupy the Theatre in the Square after Palmer Wells’ Theatre in the Square company closed in March of 2012 due to financial troubles.
“We’re hoping to fill the void that was created when Theatre in the Square went out of business,” Goodner said. “We’ve got some big shoes to fill, but we have a very loyal audience who have been out to see all of our shows.”
Blocker said Lyric’s use of the Alley Stage will add a new type of entertainment to the Square.
“It’s going to be a very different use for the space than how it’s been used in the past,” Blocker said.