The theater's facade with marquee glowing at night
|Location||214 East Main Street
|Owner||Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government|
|Operator||Kentucky Theater Group|
|Type||Indoor Movie Theater|
|Opened||October 4, 1922|
The Kentucky Theater is a historic cinema in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, United States, that first opened in 1922. It is currently owned by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and leased to a private firm that shows films and also hosts concerts. The theater's schedule emphasizes foreign, independent, and art films, although more typical Hollywood movies are occasionally shown as well. It is one of a few[not specific enough to verify] remaining movie palaces in the United States.
Each summer, the Kentucky Theater hosts a Summer Classics Series, showing a different classic film each Wednesday throughout the summer. In keeping with the theater's age and old-fashioned sensibilities, most films in the series are paired as one-night double features or shown with an accompanying cartoon.
Following extensive damage in 1987, from a fire in an adjacent restaurant, the theater was closed. Over the next five years a number of renovations were conducted and the grand reopening was held on April 11, 1992.
In the late 1990s, the city renovated and reopened an adjoining theater. It is referred to informally as the State Theater, although it is operated as a secondary facility for the Kentucky. The State was the venue for the Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour. The program has moved to the Lyric theater.
In 2000, the Kentucky and its manager Fred Mills found themselves embroiled in controversy over the showing of an X-rated film entitled Disco Dolls in Hot Skin. Undercover officers confiscated the film and Mills was charged with distributing obscene material. The theater filed suit and the film was returned. Mill's charges were dismissed upon arraignment, and the Lexington city council voted 11 to 4 against holding a review on the issue. The phrase "Defend the First Amendment" was put onto the marquee after the incident and the statement remains on a sticker on the box office window.