Citing financial strain, Atlanta Lyric Theatre closes after 42 years

Mar. 7—The Marietta-based Atlanta Lyric Theatre, which put on Broadway-style musicals for 42 years, has closed its doors, it announced Tuesday.

In a message posted to the Lyric's website, Monica Gwinn and Patti Schoettler, co-chairs of the theater's board, said a steep decline in attendance since the COVID-19 pandemic began has strained the group's financial resources to the point of making its continued operation unsustainable.

"Regrettably, we will not be able to present the last two shows of our current season, Pippin and Best of Broadway, and we will not present the final two performances in our Cabaret Series," they said in the message.

The Lyric will also be unable to refund tickets for its 42nd season, Gwinn and Schoettler said, though the theater will write acknowledgement letters for the value of patrons' unused tickets and donations they made this year.

Formed initially as a Gilbert and Sullivan repertory company, the first production was "The Mikado," performed at Emory University. Since then, the Atlanta Lyric Theatre changed names and locations several times but stayed committed to its vision: to perform Broadway's hits with Atlanta's talent.

The Atlanta Lyric Theatre most recently staged its productions at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre at the Cobb County Civic Center.

In their message announcing the end of the Lyric's run, co-chairs of the board also thanked the theater's staff, praising "their attempts to adjust to the Lyric's new reality."

They also thanked the Lyric's subscribers and donors for their support of the theater.

"Our greatest disappointment is that we will no longer be able to bring you the shows that you have enjoyed for so many years. We hope you will continue to support other arts organizations in the community," Gwinn and Schoettler wrote. "They need you now, more than ever."