By: Terry Sweeney
Whit Whitaker took over as the Executive Director of The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center about six weeks ago and brings new perspective and energy to this historic cultural venue.
The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center
First opened in 1948, it was a thriving entertainment and cultural centerpiece for Lexington African American families until it closed in 1963. During that time notable entertainers such as B. B. King performed at the Lyric. It was renovated and reopened in 2010. Today, it features a theater with seating for more than 500, a museum and art gallery and a 4,200 sq. ft. community room and outdoor courtyard ideal for hosting weddings.
A native of Detroit, Whit graduated from University of Kentucky majoring in voice and then went on to get his masters at UK in Arts Administration. Prior to joining the Lyric, Whit served as the Choral Business Director for The Lexington Singers. His vision for the Lyric is to improve community relations and access for area residents and neighbors, increase support for music artists and attract a broader, more diverse and inclusive pool of performers that include old and new genres and increase the Lyric’s impact and visibility.
When not working at the Lyric, Whit is busy with a number of art and music projects. He is the lead singer and percussionist for the Mercy Men Band. He also leads water fitness and boot camps at the YMCA. Personal tidbits:
- Favorite Music Genre (to perform): African American Spirituals
- Favorite Band (besides the Mercy Men Band): Queen
- Favorite Movie: Brian Song, The Color Purple
- Favorite Drink: Mountain Dew
- Favorite Downtown Places (besides the Lyric): Children’s Theater, Lexington Opera House
- Pet Peeve: judgmental people and bullies
The Lyric offers exciting and diverse entertainment and programming. It is also available for rentals. Checkout their event calendar at http://www.lexingtonlyric.com/calendar.php