Local News

Roanoke Rapids Theatre Turns Profit

Posted January 16, 2008 8:43 p.m. EST
Updated January 17, 2008 12:45 a.m. EST

— 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.