News Column

Countdown to Sunset

September 14, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 14--ASHEBORO -- In just five days, the "new" Sunset Theatre will be unveiled.

On Friday night, donors will get the first up-close look at the $1.7 million renovation of the movie house that opened in 1930. That event will be by invitation only.

Then, next Saturday and Sunday, the doors will be thrown open to anyone who wants to walk through the expanded facility at 234 Sunset Ave. The tour will be free -- and so will the popcorn served up on those days.

The theater has been closed for more than a year while work was under way to transform the downtown landmark into a first-class performing arts center.

At their September meeting Thursday evening, Asheboro City Council members approved a few minor changes in policies and fees governing the theater.

The fees did not go up much in light of the fact that the facility is bigger, better, brighter and more beautiful. In fact, the charge of a private party or general meeting did not change: It will still cost just $100 to rent the theater (for four hours).

The charge for a private event (eight hours maximum) did not go up, either. It's still $300. And the security deposit for all users remains at $100.

The fee for nonprofit, government and school groups was raised from $125 to $150 for single-day use, eight hours maximum. Commercial and for-profit renters will pay $350 -- $50 more than before.

"We don't want to price people out," Jonathan Sermon, the city's recreation services director told council members. "We have a facility for the people of Asheboro. We want them to use it."

Changes in usage rules were minor, too:

-- The security deposit will be forfeited if an event exceeds its time limit.

-- Only approved tape (such as blue painters' tape or gaff tape) can be used on the stage floor; the lessee must remove it immediately following an event.

-- If a lessee has permission to hold a catered event, food must be served and eaten in areas designated by city staff.

The theater is going to be open to the public for a number of free events in its first two weeks, beginning with next weekend's open house. The following events will be free and open to the public during a grand reopening celebration:

-- Saturday, Sept. 21, 2-8 p.m., public open house.

-- Sunday, Sept. 22, 2-8 p.m., public open house.

-- Monday, Sept. 23, public open house, 6-7 p.m.; "The Winning Team," 7 p.m. (This movie was shown in the Sunset in 1952.)

-- Tuesday, Sept. 24, public open house, 6-7 p.m.; "Fort Apache," 7 p.m. (This movie was shown in the Sunset in 1948.)

-- Thursday, Sept. 26, public open house, 6-7 p.m.; "Cimarron," 7 p.m. (This movie was shown in the Sunset in 1960.)

-- Friday, Sept. 27, concert featuring True Grass, 7 p.m. (bluegrass); public open house, 8-9 p.m.

-- Saturday, Sept. 28, "Gone with the Wind," noon; public open house, 4-6 p.m.; "Gone with the Wind," 7 p.m. (This film was shown in the Sunset in 1939 and then annually for many years.)

-- Sunday, Sept. 29, concert featuring Saxology, 3 p.m. (saxophone quartet, jazz/swing, classical); public open house, 4-6 p.m.

-- Monday, Sept. 30, concert featuring Zoopendous show chorus, 7 p.m. (women singing barbershop harmony); public open house, 8-9 p.m.

-- Tuesday, Oct. 1, concert with Larry Davis, 7 p.m. (solo guitarist, multiple music genres); public open house, 8-9 p.m.

-- Thursday, Oct. 3, "The Serial Killer's Daughter," 7 p.m. (staged poetry reading presented by RSVP Community Theatre); public open house, 8-9 p.m.

Some future dates are already on the books, too.

A3 (Asheboro Alive, Active and Able) will kick off the Mayor's Fitness Challenge on Wednesday, Sept. 25, and Randolph County native and guitarist extraordinaire Larry Davis will present the 14th annual Glenn Davis Memorial Concert, his annual tribute to his banjo-playing father, on Nov. 12.

RSVP Community Theatre will take to the Sunset stage more than once in 2013, beginning Oct. 3 with "The Serial Killer's Daughter," which also will be presented on Sunday, Oct. 6, at 2:30 p.m.; on Oct. 25-27 and Nov. 1-3, look for Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple."

The city will resume its free Friday Night Bluegrass shows on the third Friday of the month, beginning with Solid Foundation on Oct. 18. Tim Moon's students will present a bluegrass recital on Nov. 15; on Dec. 20, the theater will ring with the sounds of "A Bluegrass Christmas."

In the wings: The Randolph Community Concert Association will bring shows to the Sunset in February and March 2014.

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(c)2013 The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, N.C.

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