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Kentucky Theatre turns 100

The Kentucky Theatre has survived fires, livestreaming and COVID, and now reemerges to face the next centennial.

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The Kentucky Theatre, a downtown Lexington landmark, will celebrate its 100th birthday the entire month of October.

And why shouldn’t it? The historic theatre might be old, but it has survived plenty over the past century — renovations, COVID pandemic shutdowns, a fire, technology improvements and more. And it did so while keeping Lexington entertained with countless shows, movies, concerts and even UK basketball broadcasts.

The entertainment began Oct. 4, 1922, in a $250,000 theatre on East Main Street that was recognized architecturally as one of the finest in the South. Prices were $.25 and adults, $.10 for children. For evenings, Sundays and holidays, adults were charged $.30.

Historical pictures show how the theatre changed with Lexington: New marquee with neon lights, movie trends and music shows.

And the Kentucky Theatre made Lexington feel like Hollywood with several red carpet premieres with the stars, the first being in 1956 and the latest in 2010 with Oscar nominated actress Diane Lane.

1931_Ushers2.jpg
Kentucky Theatre ushers on May 30, 1931. The sign in the ticket booth behind the ushers says that admission prices were $.50 for adults and $.10 for children. During the weekend this photograph was taken, the Kentucky Theater hosted Smiling Ed McConnell, a popular radio star of the time. The theatre will celebrate its 100th anniversary in October. The University of Kentucky Libraries & Archives, the Lafayette Studio Collection

This story was originally published September 22, 2022 10:00 AM.





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