Local News

Roanoke Rapids to Remove Randy Parton's Name From Theater

Posted January 8, 2008 6:04 p.m. EST
Updated January 8, 2008 10:24 p.m. EST

— The Randy Parton Theatre is just a memory – not the building, but the name. The Roanoke Rapids City Council voted Tuesday night to change the theater's name to the Roanoke Rapids Theatre.

City leaders have banned Parton from performing at the theater and have taken down photographs of the performer. Theater management replaced Parton's photos with images of his band, Jerusalem Ridge.

“I think that will be a positive thing for the theater,” said Jim Garrett, a long-time critic of the city's contract with Parton.

“Well, I guess we just got thrown out of the place. What do you think?” Parton said.

The night of Dec. 6, the city asked Parton to leave the theater. The mayor said he was under the influence of alcohol.

“We had to move quickly and be fluid to change the direction of the theater,” said Jim Craig, an official with UGL Unicco, the company the city hired to manage the theater after it relieved Parton of that duty.

The theater has moved on without Parton. Parton's star, where he performed on-stage, is gone.

The band is working on a new show that should be ready by February. The theater also plans to host local talent competitions and has more than a dozen new acts booked through May.

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

The new theater managers said they will continue to move forward, booking performers, no matter what the name of the theater is.

When WRAL spoke with Parton in December, he maintained he had fulfilled all his agreements with the city.

The city borrowed $21.5 million to build the 1,500-seat complex. Parton, brother of country music singer Dolly Parton, managed the theater, but it had trouble generating revenue.

Under the new management contract with Boston-based UGL Unicco, the city wiped clean a $475,000 debt Parton owed and took on $220,000 in unpaid theater expenses.

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.

Roanoke Rapids City Attorney Glynn Rollins also resigned Tuesday night. Rollins said he wants to focus more on his private practice.
The city hired Gilbert Chichester as his replacement.