LYRIC  . JEFFERSON . MAZDA 293 - 295 Madison

Opened 1906   .    Closed 1962  .  Seats 800   

The Lyric Theater presented the best in stage, Vaudeville, and movies.  Sarah Bernhardt performed here, but in later years, prizefights were held.  The theatre burned on January 23, 1941.  Today the site is empty.  This theater has a very similar history to the Lyceum, and it's easy to confuse the two. Billboard Magazine, 1908, mentions that the Lyric's first manager was Jack Amick, who had owned The Palace at 135 N. Main.  J. J. Amick also owned Amick's Vaudeville Exchange.   In 1911, Benjamin M. Stainback secured a lease on the Jefferson, made improvements to the theatre and renamed it The Lyric.  As manager he produced the first very successful season.


The Jefferson is listed in the Memphis Directories from 1909-1911.  The Lyric is listed from 1911-1930.  In 1931 the name changed to Mazda and it's listed for two years.  1933 is the last listing and a new name: Junior Order United American Mechanics Theatre.   The 1913-14 Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide lists The Lyric with 1530 Seats.(See below)


The vintage post card (below) shows the theatre building with "Jefferson Theater" printed on it, and a banner across the street reading "Jefferson".   The Billboard Magazine (below) has an article about The Lyric and about Jack Amick.  Most of the articles below discuss The Jefferson and contradict the dates of the Memphis Directory listings.  The "1909 MOVIE ad" below, is probably from 1911 but verifies  that the LYRIC did indeed show movies.  The 1929 photo of The Lyric (below) shows posters advertising 1929's "The Desert Song" - Warner Brothers first 2 color Technicolor movie. 


Coppock's "Memphis Memoirs"


"Jefferson" postcard

Lyric 1916


Jack Amick

Jack Amick letter

1914 Ticket-Pass


1909 Jefferson Theatre Programs 

These rare programs, dated February and March of 1909,  are for the plays "The Heir to the Hoorah" and "Salomy Jane" at the Jefferson Theatre.  The programs include a diagram of the entire theatre's seating, offices, restrooms, exits, and some  interesting Memphis ads.

Click on the Program Covers to see and read the entire programs
 February 1909

March 1909



Lyric -1929 Main St Sign 1913 Variety -1909 1919 Playbill Variety -1919

Theatre History


Cahn -Hill Guide

Jefferson item 1908 Billboard 1908 Name Change 1911

Jefferson Ad 1909-10


1913, 1914,1920 Lyric Theatre Programs 

These rare programs are for the plays "The White Slave"1913, "The Girl from Out Yonder" 1913, "At Cosy Corners", 1914, and Opera Season, 1920.

Click on the Program Covers to see the complete  programs






1922 Central Class at Lyric Thetre  

1918 Lyric Players

1921 Recital

1920 Program


Diane Dunn, Round Rock TX -  4/2012.:  "...I saw the information...regarding the early Palace Theatre which opened in 1907.  You mentioned it was headquarters for Amick's Vaudeville Exchange.  ...James J. Amick was my grandfather. ... I have a copy of the 1908 Memphis City Directory showing a listing for Jack Amick, manager of Amick's Vaudeville Exchange and Palace Theater.  It gives his residence as the Arlington Hotel.  Following that entry is the listing for Amick's Vaudeville Exchange at 135 N. Main. ... Here are the pictures we talked about.  James Jackson Amick was born in Springfield TN 1884 and died in Michigan February 29, 1940.

Stephen Huff:  "...The Lyric started out as The Jefferson in 1908.  Its name was changed to The Lyric when the management changed in 1911.  The name was changed again to the Mazda about 10 years before it burned in 1941." 




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