LEXINGTON, KY  – The switch was thrown on a new exterior marque at the Lexington Opera House on Wednesday, March 4th at 6:30 pm, illuminating Broadway and Short Streets in Downtown Lexington.

Over 50 local dignitaries, arts patrons and downtown Lexington business owners gathered on the Opera House stage and sidewalks to celebrate the official lighting of the marquee. 

According to Bill Owen, Lexington Center Corp. CEO and President, “For the first time in 44 years, since the 1970’s, an ornate and highly visible marquee will welcome Opera House patrons and identify what live entertainment is playing and when.”

“The major improvement Marquee project was jointly funded by The Opera House Fund and Lexington Center Corporation, transforming a vision into reality.”  Owen continued.

The Wagner Electric Sign Company, specializing in refurbishing and replacing marquee signage for historical theatres designed, built and installed the marquee.  Designer Eric Larsen made multiple site visits to ensure the customized design retained the ornate aesthetic of the historic venue, originally constructed in 1886. The decorative pieces on the lower marquee were designed with the original exterior façade as inspiration.  The center section of the lower marquee was inspired by interior accents of the Opera House.  Over 1,100 LED bulbs are incorporated to create the “flash and chase” lighting system.

“It was once easy to walk by the Opera House entrance on Broadway and not even know it was there,” said Luanne Franklin, Lexington Opera House Director of Performing Arts.  “While the original capstone names the venue on top of the building, it is out of sight for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.  Now a vertical blade will identify the Opera House and digital LED boards will let everyone know what events are happening at the Opera House.  We are very excited about this long awaited renovation—we are ready to light the lights on Broadway!”

Stats & Fun Facts

  • Weight of the lower marquee is 6300 lbs
  • Weight of the blade is 3250 lbs.
  • The Electronic Message Displays are 50” tall and 11’9” wide
  • The blade is 23/5’ in height
  • The White Leaf Leather Flower and the Spring Beauty were the inspiration for the
    under canopy ceiling decoration. Both of these flowers are abundant in Kentucky.

For further information, contact the Center Bank Center (859) 233-4567 or visit

About Central Bank Center (Formerly Lexington Center)

Located in Lexington, Kentucky, the Lexington Center Corporation (LCC) is a not-for-profit 501c3 corporate agency of the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government established in 1974 to manage and maintain Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center, the Central Bank Center (formerly Lexington Convention Center), Triangle Park and the Lexington Opera House. One of the nation’s most storied entertainment destinations, Central Bank Center venues collectively welcome an average of 1.3 million patrons annually.

The Lexington Opera House, built in 1886, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the premiere performing arts centers in the region. From its opening, the Opera House has played host to such famous stage performers W.C. Fields, The Marx Brothers, Al Jolson, Julie Harris, Steve Martin, Brian Wilson and Graham Nash.  It has undergone two major renovations and remains a cultural destination in downtown Lexington.