State News

Roanoke Rapids considers new manager for troubled theater

Posted September 28, 2010

— A North Carolina city that gambled on a theater along Interstate 95 that would pack in tourists from miles away is looking for new managers to ease the drain on local taxpayers.

Mayor Emery Doughtie of Roanoke Rapids said the city council on Tuesday authorized the city manager to prepare a contract for Neste Event Marketing to take over the Roanoke Rapids Theatre.

Any new management for the venue would be the third such arrangement since the city borrowed $22 million in 2005 to build the theater it named for its headliner and original manager, country music singer Randy Parton, brother of Dolly Parton.

After that deal soured, officials agreed to a lease-sale agreement with Lafayette Gatling of Chicago. The city ended the contract with Gatling after he fell behind on his payments.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • buffaloemorris Sep 29, 2010

    What were you all thinking from the beginning? Roanoke Rapids? Just ask the general public...we all knew it would fail! My question is...who stood to make money from this deal that pushed it through? Somebody did or else it wouldn't be there.

  • gman007 Sep 28, 2010

    Counting on a never-was/never-will be (Randy) to bring in the bucks was stupid. RR should know they will never bring in a 'big name' unless they can guarantee a 'big purse' and they can't, not based on 'maybe they'll stop'. However, if RR would guarantee the purses to get the big names and then set up billboards from Canada to Key West on I-95 as well as I-85, I-40 and I-64 with whose appearing and an 800 number for a single point of contact for reservations (shows, hotel,s & restuarants)they might be able to pick up some strays.

  • ncguy Sep 28, 2010

    The only thing that will work there is a topless place.

    I'll manage it!

  • pinehorse Sep 28, 2010

    A camouflage fashion show and a deer hound symphony. Wait a minute, that might be just the things the theater needs.

  • timflowers Sep 28, 2010

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired of hearing about the theater. But a mouse can't run through the place without WRAL reporting on it.
    The theater was doomed from the start. You can't put the arts in an area that thinks camouflage is fashionable. They should have built a deer hunter's hall of fame instead.

  • jackaroo2 Sep 28, 2010

    This project has been bad joke from the beginning, and they p away too much money already. Cut your best deal and go away, like the small town politicians who planned it. RR is not Myrtle Beach.

  • gswalker51 Sep 28, 2010

    I drove by this place on Saturday. I like the idea of a town like Roanoke Rapids taking a chance on doing something like this to attract tourists/travelers but for whatever reason, it just didn't work. It's a nice, giant theater in the middle of a field (plenty of hotels, stores and restaurants nearby). But, for whatever reason, it's a total flop. Punt already or turn it over to someone who knows what they're doing (i.e., not a rural North Carolinian who only got their job in the first place because of family/political/land connections).

  • tim14 Sep 28, 2010

    I've done a good job. I've done everything I'm supposed to do," Parton said. "I have honored all my agreements. I've got a good show."

    "No, absolutely not," he said. "Who did? Hell, I spent my own money."

    "I don't care what they think about me," Parton said. "I've done a good job. I've honored my agreements.

    "I don't know for sure if the smell is paper mill or politics," the entertainer said.

    "I don't care what they think about me," Parton said. "I've done a good job. I've honored my agreements.

    "I don't know for sure if the smell is paper mill or politics," the entertainer said.

    "I don't know about that, you know. You know, I mean, I don't know about the money," Parton said.

  • disgruntled Sep 28, 2010

    If they want this place to make money, why did they cancel a show last weekend?

  • cdx06 Sep 28, 2010

    I wish Bass Pro Shops or Cabela's would buy it and do something with it if they have to gut it out first.