Governor Signs Legislation Bestowing Honor
Lyric Theatre has been named the Official Theatre of the State of Oklahoma. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 1385, authored by Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd and House Majority Leader Jon Echols, bestowing the honor for the flagship theatre founded in 1963. The law takes effect November 1, 2022.
“Everyone at Lyric Theatre would like to thank Senator Floyd, Representative Echols, Governor Stitt and all our state leaders for this honor and recognition,” said Michael Baron, Lyric’s producing artistic director. “Throughout Lyric’s history, we have strived to create live, professional theatre that brings people together to tell stories of hope, empathy and foster conversation. We proudly state that we are an important part of the artistic and educational fabric of this great state and will continue to reach out to create new partnerships with other community organizations and celebrate the diversity of its people.”
Lyric annually serves more than 100,000 people statewide and is the state’s largest live theatre company, producing classic and contemporary plays and musicals on two stages, including the historic Plaza Theatre and the majestic Civic Center Music Hall.
“Lyric Theatre is an essential part of this state’s cultural identity, and as a premier theatre company, enhances economic development efforts as well,” said Sen. Floyd, D-Oklahoma City. “Although based in Oklahoma City, Lyric productions attract audiences from 305 Oklahoma cities and towns, all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Canada. I want to thank my House author, Majority Leader Echols, members of both chambers, and Governor Kevin Stitt for their support of Lyric’s well-deserved designation as our state’s official theatre.”
Lyric’s leadership has been awarded three Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Awards and the national Helen Hayes Award. Lyric Theatre’s production of Oklahoma! was proclaimed the official state production in 2015, and the organization’s Musical Interactive touring program travels to schools across the entire state performing live for more than 45,000 students each year. The program, which began in 2007, is fully funded by donors and provided to all Oklahoma schools entirely free of charge. Additionally, Lyric is home to the Thelma Gaylord Academy, a premiere professional performing arts training ground, boasting thousands of graduates since its inception in 2001.
“Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma has contributed a great deal to the history of our city and state over its almost 60-year existence,” said Rep. Echols, R-Oklahoma City. “Many talented Oklahomans have gotten their start at Lyric, and their work in the community cannot be overstated. From humble beginnings, Lyric Theatre has become Oklahoma’s leading professional theatre, and I am proud of the role I was able to play in recognizing them as the official theatre of Oklahoma.”
Over the past decade, Lyric has welcomed to its stages Tony Award winners Beth Leavel and Chita Rivera, Tony and Emmy winner Billy Porter, Tony nominees Emily Skinner and Dee Hoty and fostered the talents of Adrianna Hicks and Ana Uzele of Broadway’s Six, and Sasha Hutchings, original cast member of Hamilton. Lyric is especially proud to employ a robust and talented group of artists both onstage and off who make their home in Oklahoma.
“During the past two years, we have met the challenges of the pandemic head-on by creating safe, dynamic theatre in all new ways,” Baron said. “Lyric Theatre’s collaboration with the First Americans Museum on the world-premiere Native American musical, Distant Thunder, our residency at the historic Harn Homestead for our site-specific production of Lyric’s A Christmas Carol, and our original state-wide educational production of Lyric’s Kids Clubhouse are recent examples of our continuing commitment to bring our state together to create pathways of understanding, joy, and learning through live performance.”
In 2023, Lyric will embark on a tour across the state of Oklahoma with live musical performances. Dates and locations to be announced this fall.
“We would like to thank the thousands of artists, staff, Lyric’s Thelma Gaylord Academy students and teachers, and technicians who have worked at Lyric throughout its history to create meaningful theatre at the highest standards of excellence,” Baron said. “We would also like to thank current and past board members, sponsors, state agencies and philanthropic organizations for their continued support. Lastly, we would like to thank the millions of people who have enjoyed Lyric productions and education programs throughout its history. Lyric Theatre is truly of the people, for the people, and by the people of Oklahoma."