The final broadcast will be Jan. 19, 24 years and one day since it premiered on Jan. 18, 1993 with guests University of Kentucky Opera Theatre director Everett McCorvey, his wife Alicia Helm McCorvey and then-Lexington Opera House director Dick Pardy to promote a production of “Porgy & Bess.” Since then, “Curtains” has featured a mix of national and local entertainers, artists and just plain interesting people.
Lawrence always talked about the show as a service to the local arts community, saying in a 2013 interview regarding the show’s 20th anniversary, “I like to see what’s going on and see who needs the help. I’ll get a call from people saying, ‘Nick, we’ve got to sell some tickets,’ and they’ll come on and we’ll talk.”
At that time, he estimated there had been 3,000 guests on the show, and it went on for another three years.
In 2013, Lawrence said he would do the show, which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, “as long as I can,” though even then, health issues were forcing him to take extended absences from the air. Joe Conkwright often filled in for Lawrence. WUKY spokesperson Gail Bennett said the progression of Lawrence’s health issues necessitated his retirement.
Bennett said plans are for Lawrence to do a weekly arts-related feature to air during the station’s “Morning Edition” broadcasts. “Curtains @ 8” will end, Bennett said, and the music show “World Cafe,” which currently airs after Lawrence’s show, will move into the 8 p.m. slot Tuesdays through Thursdays.