Local News

Randy Parton Theatre Under New Management

Posted November 20, 2007
Updated November 21, 2007

— The Roanoke Rapids City Council voted Tuesday night to hire a new management company for the Randy Parton Theatre.

The city borrowed $21.5 million to build the 1,500-seat complex, which Parton managed.

Some people, like City Councilman Jon Baker, have criticized the city for not being open with the public about the theater's dealing.

Baker released the following statement Nov. 16: “Full disclosure and transparency is what this community needs. The people have a right to know."

“The initial deal with Randy, the city and the private developer was done in secret,” Don Carrington, with the Carolina Journal said.

Parton's original contract called for him to be paid $1.5 million a year to perform at the theater, plus a car and a house. His salary was to be based on revenue from ticket sales and merchandise.

Generating revenue has been a problem for the theater. The city manager said there are nights when attendance doesn't reach the break-even point.

The new management company, Boston-based UNICCO, will begin booking acts to run in conjunction with Parton’s “Little Bit of Life” and “Carolina Christmas” shows. “

"I think their plans for the theater will only strengthen its presence and help attract even more tourists and development to the city,” Roanoke Rapids Mayor Drewery Beale said.

“The public’s response to our ‘Little Bit of Life’ show has been positive. This is an exciting step. I look forward to working with the city and the new management team to continue to grow the theater as a world-class entertainment destination,” said Parton.

Parton will continue to perform 36 engagements a year at the theater. His annual salary was cut to $250,000.

The city also wiped clean a $475,000 debt Parton owed as a good-faith payment. Roanoke Rapids kept more than $500,000 remaining from Parton's $3 million reserve fund.

“The contract between the city and UNICCO will also be public record with a goal of operating the theater as efficiently as possible to pay down the debt service at a faster rate,” said Mayor Pro-tem Reggie Baird.

Baker and Councilman Carl Ferebee voted against hiring new management for the theater.

Baker told WRAL he voted against it because he still had a lot of concerns and questions that were not answered. He left the meeting directly after the vote.


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  • drnc Nov 21, 2007

    That building will be part of an outlet mall or car dealership in less than five years.

  • NC is my home Nov 21, 2007

    Give it a break! It takes a long time to build any industry. None of the other similar tourism attractions, like Dollywood, Myrtle Beach, etc were built in a year. There is opportunity for North Carolinians if we just take advantage of it.

    Roanoke Rapids (and all Northeastern NC) deserve the chance to a more prosperous way of life. The entertainment industry already has a big ally on the east coast—Wilmington; we could become the entertainment capital of the US. But it won’t happen overnight. There is seed-time & harvest.

  • Sopranos Justice Nov 21, 2007

    the lake gaston home appreciation has nothing to do with the RP theater, all waterfornt in all of NC has done that....but to have rising property tax values IF the related fair market values are flat, then that is wrong.

    Being from eastern NC, there are a lot of old economy towns suffering due to the loss of manufacturing, and I hope that RR can find its way out of it...but it will be hard, and I don't think that the RP Theater, as it is operating now, is the answer.

    Old industry work is being replaced by high technology in NC, and those jobs pay well, so people, not facilties, are what needs retooling today, so anyone still looking for the new jobs to come to town, they are heading to other towns with more people available with more skills. Education is key, and small town NC seems to continue to ignore this. Good luck RR...and happy thanksgiving.

  • Proud RR Native Born and Raised Nov 21, 2007

    trying to have a descent car and rent or buy a home. Since the RP Theater has come here is has driven homes, property tax values, consumer goods, and other things up. Homes on Lake Gaston are worth more right now than three years ago, and I blame it on the RP Theater and Roanoke Development (Dunlow’s). A waterfront home that costed $200,000 three years ago is now doubled and tripled in some cases. That is absurd. Yes there are several vacant areas where businesses need to come to. Those places include a portion of Wal-Mart, the Oakland Shopping Center, the Becker Village Mall, and on the Roanoke Avenue. Most of the business moved out to Premier Blvd. near I-95 Exit 173. It left the middle of the town abandoned. Lucky a group of local investors have recently purchased the Becker Village Mall. I pray that they bring back the mall I once knew and enjoyed shopping at. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Proud RR Native Born and Raised Nov 21, 2007

    Cont. to point the finger. I agree with some of the comments. It is going to take more than Randy Parton for that theater to make it. All fact and figures should be made know to the public. I want to see this theater make along with other places to follow in the next few years or so. This theater cannot depend on the Halifax County and surrounding areas to provide the profit. It will take the travelers stopping at I-95 Exit 171 to produce profit. Roanoke Rapids is trying to grow in a positive way and I think the RR City officials don’t know what they are doing. First and for most, they need to elect a new mayor. He is crooked in many ways the public is unaware of. In order for the RR area to grow it is going to take more than the RP Theater and retail shops. The most important need right now is jobs. We need industries and other business to locate here. With the average job paying $7-8 an hour in this area, that is not going to cut it. One person can’t live of that tr

  • Proud RR Native Born and Raised Nov 21, 2007

    I took the time to read all 47 comments posted at the time about my home. I went to the Randy Parton show during the month of September when tickets were on special 2 for the price of one. You had to mention the special in order to get it by the way. I personally thought the show was good. If the tickets had not been on special I probably would of not gone due to the high ticket prices. People need to understand that it takes any business about 5 years to become fully successful and produce profit. The RP theater along with Carolina Crossroads was once the home of farmland. Investors sold it to make a huge profit and hopefully watch the Halifax County/Roanoke Rapids area grow. In addition to the theater a theme park, retail shops, and an aquarium were suppose to follow. Being one of the poorest counties in the state of NC, RR officials saw this opportunity to help RR grow, provide tourism, and jobs. Now the RP Theater is not producing profit as anticipated, people are quick t

  • Deer Hunter Nov 21, 2007

    Misuse of Money? Look at the public airport, millions of dollars spent and no planes landing. This project is over 2 years old. What is new, the rich get richer.

  • CestLaVie Nov 21, 2007

    Randy who???

    I wouldn't mind visiting this place for a concert sometime, but it will take some bigger-named entertainment than Randy Parton, who I'd never heard of before this theater project started.

    I was amazed when I went on their website several months ago when I heard it was opening, and saw nothing posted but Randy Parton, Randy Parton. No thank you. I can go to the little ole' Rudy Theater in Selma, probably, for a better show. In fact, we do that quite often - and it's close!!

  • celong Nov 21, 2007

    right with you KIDZ and glad you mentioned Dunlow. Priced things so high other potential venues put on the brakes.

  • HOMEWRECKER Nov 21, 2007

    I'd like to see an audit of this whole deal. some of our local officials have been getting kick backs on some of this i bet. we are one of the poorest counties in the state. instead of fixing what we already have we are blowing money on useless stuff. also have 1-million county school dollars misused. the d.o.t. is paving dead end roads in tillery while the roads we have are in need of repair.we have hundreds of people doing community service or some type of probation and parole and we still have trash all over the sides of the roads. the place is so dirty no one is going to stop here anyway. we have a few wanna be someone so bad they have sold us out.you go to these concerts and social gatherings and of course they always have a v.i.p. pass and seating but are so drunk they cant find their seat. we need to get back to the basics and stop trying to keep up with the jones...............RR NATIVE>>>>>>