Local News

Roanoke Rapids Theatre Turns Profit

Posted January 16, 2008
Updated January 17, 2008

— The venue once known as the Randy Parton Theatre is celebrating its first sellout performance.

The recently renamed Roanoke Rapids Theatre held a gospel show Sunday. There were so many people there, mangers had to bring in extra seats to accommodate the crowd.

The Roanoke Rapids City Council voted Jan. 8 to change the theater's name. The theater has cut ties with Parton, brother of country music singer Dolly Parton, and according to financial records is finally making money.

The theater made a profit of $17,000 from the end of November through the end of December, according to the financial records. Boston-based UGL Unicco took over managing the theater Nov. 30.

Parton originally managed the theater, but it had trouble generating revenue. City officials said that from July through September, the theater lost more than $1 million dollars under his leadership.

As manager, Parton had more expenses than the city, including a lease payment to Roanoke Rapids. The city admits that if it had to make that payment to itself, the theater would have lost $23,000 instead of turning a profit during the Nov. 30-Dec. 30 period.

City officials said they are pleased that the bottom-line is growing regardless. They said they are banking on even more growth as more changes are made at the theater.

The theater has more than a dozen new acts booked through May, and there are plans to host local talent competitions.

Legally, the city still has a contract with Parton and is negotiating with his attorney to cut those ties.


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  • dohicky Jan 17, 2008

    Would hope they don't have to give Parton anything but he probably had things written up so he could do whatever he pleased and the city failed to protect the investment they made with the publics tax money.

  • Space Mountain Jan 17, 2008

    So, he gets paid even though he wasted the city's money and never turned a profit ebcause he had a contract? Brilliant!

  • dryhumper Jan 17, 2008

    Randy "Cousin Eddie" Parton is a genius... His sound is unlike any artist performing today.

  • jackadoo Jan 17, 2008

    I still think they could have come up with a more creative name. No one outside this area knows Roanoke Rapids. They should have consulted their marketing group, or held a contest ! That would have been fun !!! Someone should start a blog on that...

  • dnc0716 Jan 17, 2008

    They are only taking 1 month's revenues and operating expenses into account, not the entire year."The theater made a profit of $17,000 from the end of November through the end of December, according to the financial records" UNICO is just reporting the progress that they are making,not the entire year of the theatre. The $17,000 profit is a lot better than a loss of $91,000 a month. The tax return for the Moonlight Bandits would only contain revenues and expenses from 1/1/07 to the end of November. The rest of the year would be reported by the new owners-the city. As to the house and car, they were all provided by private individuals, not from theatre revenues or the city. The debt forgivness would actually be income to Parton reported to him on a 1099 issued by the city.

  • iamforjustice Jan 17, 2008

    Gospel soled out huh....I new country wouldn't ever sell out. Hip hop/Gospel/R&B/Jazz is what they need...not country. Roanoke itself might be into country but not the travellers who make up the venue.

  • TechRescue Jan 17, 2008

    Man, what a "profit" I could make if I didn't have to pay my bills!

  • likemenow Jan 17, 2008

    1 million, take away 17,000....hmmmm..i'm not real good at the maths but there's still a long ways to go..it will take them 59 straight months to recoup that difference...not to mention the money originally invested byt the taxpayers....i really am a "glass-half-full" type of guy but this "windfall" story is quite empty..

  • skidkid269 Jan 17, 2008

    I still think they are using Parton as a scapegoat. They admit that if the theatre had to pay its lease, they would've lost money. (Instead, the city paid it.) Personally, I think the whole thing was a stupid idea to begin with. Maybe if they had a bigger name than Dolly Parton's brother! Branson did well because it had well known performers, not Randy Owen's second cousin's sister in law as the headliner.

  • shine Jan 17, 2008

    Who ever is doing the debits and credits for this outfit needs to be relooked at..... How can you post a profit in one month when the entire thing has not cash flowed since it was opened. Not even taking in consideration the 21.5 million Roanoke Rapids got ... I am sure some of that was grant money.... How about the forgiving of some 400,000 to Parton - not including what proceeds were expedited before the project got finished. Lets not also include the house and car that was part of his contract.

    If they can post a profit in 1 month of 17,000 I would love to have there CPA on my staff........ or maybe not - the IRS will be hovering.