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Roanoke Rapids officials to meet with possible theater buyer

Posted August 14, 2008

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— Roanoke Rapids officials plan to travel to Chicago next week to meet with a businessman interested in buying the former Randy Parton Theatre.

Mayor Drewery Beale, City Manager Phyllis Lee, some City Council members, some theater advisory members and some residents will make the trip, Lee said. Everyone will pay their own expenses on the trip, she said.

Chicago businessman Lafayette Gatling, who owns a chain of funeral homes and real estate development projects, has expressed interest in buying the embattled Roanoke Rapids Theatre. Gatling also performs in a gospel music group.

Roanoke Rapids spent about $21.5 million to build the theater, hoping it would be an entertainment destination and help the region's struggling economy. Randy Parton, the brother of country music star Dolly Parton, was brought in to perform at and manage the theater.

City officials cut ties with Parton in December and renamed the facility amid slow ticket sales and allegations of misused funds.

The city also recently received a proposal from gospel singer Russ Collins and Jeff Wilson, who has managed a theater in Louisiana, about managing the music theater.


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  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Aug 14, 2008

    With those big column poles in the front, it might be of interest to the owners of Thee Doll House. I'm not sure how you are EVER going to get 1500 people to show up when that's the ONLY entertainment venue within 50 miles. Until they build on the rest of that land, it will continue to fail. Even the US President wouldn't command a crowd of 1500 on a nightly basis. But throw in many other businesses around it, and you've got a shot.

  • bs101fly Aug 14, 2008

    Manudo is reportedly interetsed in buying it and making a come back.

  • bigmoe Aug 14, 2008

    What_I_Think.....it's called desperation! And no, it makes no since at all!

  • What_I_Think Aug 14, 2008

    So instead of the guy from Chicago coming to Roanoke Rapids, where the theater he's interested in purchasing is located, all of those people are going to Chicago? Does that sound backwards to anyone else? And why are so many people going on this trip?