1925 The Brown Theatre opens on October 5, with Elsie Janis in a revue called Puzzles.
The theater is named for J. Graham Brown, Indiana native and longtime
Louisville resident. Modeled after New York’s famous Music Box Theatre,
the Brown boasts a 40’ x 40’ stage that is the equal to anything in New
York except the Hippodrome.
1930s With the Great
Depression, road bookings dry up, and the Brown is leased to the Fourth
Avenue Amusement Company as a movie theater.
1962 The Brown is renovated to once again stage live performances.
another renovation, the theater is sold to the Louisville Board of
Education and is operated under contract to the Louisville Theatrical
Association. The theater is subsequently rechristened The Macauley
Theatre, after an earlier Louisville theater located on Walnut Street
(now Muhammad Ali Boulevard).
Broadway-Brown Partnership is formed and purchases the theater and the
adjoining hotel in an effort to rejuvenate the southern end of
Louisville’s downtown business district.
1995 The dressing rooms are renovated in preparation for the premiere of Stage Door Charlie, a musical starring Tommy Tune. The event is staged as a fundraiser, and the following year a new roof is put on the building.
Fund for the Arts acquires the building and undertakes to finance the
remainder of the $4.2 million restoration. The Kentucky Center is
contracted to manage the theater. Generous gifts soon follow from the W.
L. Lyons Brown Foundation, the Brown family and Brown-Forman
1998 The newly re-rechristened W.
L. Lyons Brown Theatre includes new stage equipment and rigging, a
modern computerized marquee and a new heating and air conditioning
system. A further gift from Owsley Brown Frazier results in the main
reception area adjoining Fifth Third Conference Center being named the
2018 The Kentucky Center Foundation purchases the Brown Theatre.