Local News

Reopened Roanoke Rapids theater hosts first concert Friday

Posted October 5, 2012 4:46 p.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2012 5:02 p.m. EDT

— A new chapter for the old Roanoke Rapids Theatre begins Friday night with a free concert.

The performance by country music singer Chris Young is the first show for the venue, which is now called the Royal Palace Theatre, since the city entered into a lease-purchase agreement with Arkansas-based HSV Entertainment.

The theater is open every day and has more than 200 Internet sweepstakes machines in the lobby.

Other performances include Lorrie Morgan on Oct. 12, and Clarence Carter and Percy Sledge on Oct. 27.

In 2005, the city borrowed $21.5 million to build the theater, which initially bore the name of country singer Randy Parton, along Interstate 95 in an effort to attract tourists and help boost the economy.

But with a combination of low ticket sales, management and name changes and attempts to sell the facility, the city never generated enough money to pay off its loan.

That forced city leaders to increase the local sales tax rate. Residents are now paying nearly $2 million a year for the theater.