The theatre was first opened on Feb. 1st, 1921 as the LYRIC Theatre by Harry Hartman who previously had several other nickelodeons in Northampton. He opened the 1000 seat Lyric at 20th and Main Streets to replace his 350 seat Lyric across the street in order to provide more seating and larger stage accommodations for vaudeville.
Hit hard by the depression, Hartman sold out in the spring of 1933 to Clark and Greenberg Theatres of Philadelphia. They closed the theatre and completely renovated the interior, as well as the exterior entryway in the popular art deco style. Prominent Philadelphia theatre architect David Supowitz was hired to design the new transformation which included reducing the seating capacity to 650. The theatre reopened on August 31st, completely transformed, along with a new name, The Roxy.
The first season the Roxy still saw vaudeville on the stage, along with wild west shows, minstrels and local productions. Stage fare was discontinued as a regular part of the programming in the spring of 1934. Motion pictures were always the main bill of fare, but live attractions continued to be presented at various times. Amateur talent shows hosted by radio station WSAN were popular on Wednesday evenings during the mid-thirties. The theatre used every gimmick of the times to keep patrons coming back. Giveaways included dishes, cosmetics, encyclopedias and even good old hard cash. These giveaways were continued well into the late fifties.
The late fifties also saw the return of live entertainment upon the Roxy's stage, when concerts featuring singers Bobby Vinton, Bobby Rydell and Fabian were presented.
In the early sixties after a decade of fierce competition from Television, Clark and Greenberg decided to give up their lease on the theatre, and new management assumed control. The sixties proved to be almost fatal for the theatre, as the competition from TV and the building of new shopping center theatres caused a decline in both attendance and the physical condition of the building.
By June 1st, 1970, when the theatre was acquired by Angstadt and Wolfe Theatres, it was only a shadow of its former glory. A&W began a slow and drawn-out restoration of the theatre that continues to this day. They also reintroduced live entertainment in the form of concerts, plays, magic shows, dance recitals, and even weddings.
Artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, John Belushi, Blood Sweat & Tears, Martin Mull, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Gilda Radner, KISS, Golden Earring, Melissa Manchester along with many others were featured, again with the sponsorship of WSAN radio. By 1988, A&W partner Richard C Wolfe, acquired complete ownership of the theatre through a new corporation, Roxy Management Company, Inc. He replaced the missing pipe organ with a 7 rank Wurlitzer pipe organ, renovated the lobby, and restored the exterior facade to its original appearance. New seating and carpeting were added as well at that time.
A final restoration of the auditorium was completed during 2010, when most areas were repainted. The stage received new curtains and drapes as well as all the exit doorways. The wood floor was completely refinished, and brand-new seats and carpeting were installed once again as well.
While live entertainment is still featured at various times, the theatre continues to operate as Northampton's only commercial movie theatre.