ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — City officials have agreed to change the name of the Randy Parton Theatre to the Roanoke Rapids Theatre, a sign of more to come as the City breaks ties with Parton, who last performed at the Theatre on December 5, 2007.
"The people of Roanoke Rapids built this Theatre. It’s time to put our good name on it," said City Manager Phyllis Lee.
Crews will begin removing existing exterior and interior signage this week, with the full name change expected to evolve over several months. While all new marketing materials will carry the Roanoke Rapids Theatre name, some older materials may take longer to collect and correct.
According to Lee, the new name more accurately reflects the diversity of acts that will be performing at the Roanoke Rapids Theatre in the coming months. The schedule includes country musicians Ronnie McDowell (January 20) and John Anderson (March 29); jazz rock band Blood Sweat and Tears with Chuck Negron, formerly with Three Dog Night (January 26); and numerous gospel acts beginning with The Blackwoods (February 1-3).
This is consistent with the strategy that City officials announced last November when they hired UGL Unicco, a professional management company, to run the Theatre’s day-to-day operations. Rather than engage a new anchor performer to replace Parton, focus has been on developing a new show featuring the diverse talents of the house band Jerusalem Ridge and booking nationally-recognized acts. The Platters and Drifters performed to a full house on December 29 and Charlie Daniels performed to a near sell-out crowd on a Tuesday night in mid-December.
In addition, the Theatre will host the first-ever "Momma Says I’m a Star" Talent Contest on January 10-12, with the winner taking home a $500 prize. Members of Jerusalem Ridge will judge the contest along with the audience. Beginning in early February, Jerusalem Ridge will debut its new, family-oriented show called "Family Reunion." The show will include many different genres of music.
"While the City of Roanoke Rapids has had to make some very difficult decisions lately, we look forward to a bright and successful future for the Theatre," said Lee. "We know we have the recipe for success and we are adding the right ingredients."
One such ingredient is the Theatre’s new general manager, Rick Reno, who brings to Roanoke Rapids 35 years of theatre management experience. Reno began his career in Louisiana at the Monroe Civic Center, and in 1975 he was the director of admissions for the Louisiana Superdome in its inaugural year. He continued his career as director of operations and then general manager for the 23,000-seat Rupp Arena. Most recently, Reno served as CEO for the Crown Center in Cumberland County, N.C.
"We are delighted with UGL's decision to hire Rick Reno," said Lee. "His depth of experience in successfully running theatres is a major asset moving forward." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers