The Flynn, in various guises, has been a major presence on the Burlington performing arts scene since it began as a vaudeville house in 1930. It was a single-screen movie theater in the middle years of the century, and was saved from the fate of so many other grand old movie houses (conversion or demolition) by Merrill Theatres president Merrill Jarvis in 1972, who bought the place, installed a moveable movie screen, and made the Flynn an option for live performing arts again. Two years later, the Lyric Theatre Company performed its inaugural musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; since then, the Lyric has been doing two musicals a year at the Flynn.
An ownership transfer to the nonprofit Flynn Theatre for the Performing Arts Ltd. in 1980, coupled with several successful fundraising drives, spurred a top-to-bottom renovation and restoration that was ultimately completed in 2000. The Flynn Center now incorporates the original, fully-restored (complete with original proscenium arch) main theater, along with the smaller, more intimate FlynnSpace, two dance studios and the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery, an extension of the Flynn’s lobby that functions as an exhibition space.
The Flynn’s seasonal offerings are widely eclectic. Some of the highlights of the upcoming 2011-2012 season include Joan Rivers, Hugh Masekela, Bernadette Peters, and Spamalot!
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts Information
- Public Transportation: Excellent (a 5-minute walk from several CCTA buses in the Downtown area)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Programming includes music concerts, Broadway, theater, dance, jazz, family performances, and more
- Ticket Prices: Performances are priced individually and range widely
- Subscriptions: Season subscriptions are available, and subscribers can save up to 15% on season performances
- Membership: Individual membership is $45–$99. Benefits are tiered with every member receiving advance ticketing opportunities for Flynn presentations and special events; access to the Members-only FlynnTix Regional Box Office Showline; an invitation to the annual “Sneak Preview” event and reception; early enrollment opportunities for educational programming; a one-year subscription to the Marquee, the Flynn’s bimonthly calendar of events; invitation to Flynn tours; and a listing in the Season Guide.