Officials target end of February for theater opening
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 5, 2007 2:14 PM
David Weil is rarely more than a few feet away from the answers to all "the big questions" about the Paramount Theater.
By the look of his office, you would think the reconstruction project is the only thing on the Goldsboro businessman's plate -- blueprints hang on one end of the room, paintings of the landmark are everywhere.
He sits behind his desk and flips though a list of the 150-plus benefactors and smiles.
And with more than $580,000 in donations collected to date, he has plenty of reason to.
Weil need not do more than pick up the phone or attend a meeting for the latest status on construction.
"The walls are already up and now they have moved on to the roof rafters. People will be putting the roof on that building in a week or two," he said Tuesday. "We are on time and we are on budget. We should complete that theater sometime at the end of January 2008."
But there is still plenty more to talk about.
Maintaining his new Web site, planning for a February dedication event and booking the first few acts are among the tasks that remain for Weil.
And all the while, donations continue to pour in.
"I got good support at the beginning, but if anything, it has increased," Weil said. "I feel good about how far we have come. It's been a little more than a year and here we are -- only five months left."
Conclusion of the reconstruction project will be a welcome sight, he added.
But the day he is looking forward to with even more anticipation is the one on which the city opens the theater doors to the public.
"This is going to be a monster event for the city," Weil said of the dedication event. "We will be giving tours and inviting as much of the Wayne County population as we can to come out. You can go and walk on the stage, see the lighting room or look at the place where the actors get ready."
And when they do, he is sure old memories will surface while new ones are born.
"This project has a lot of memories for a lot of people," Weil said. "The Paramount meant something to us -- whether it was because it was where we saw "Gone With the Wind" or because it was where we had a special date. This was an elegant building that most of us had when we grew up in this old rural town."
Soon, they will have it again.
The final product is expected to look much the same as the original Paramount from the outside. But once people walk inside, they will likely understand what it means to combine authenticity with novelty, Weil said.
The plan features a revamped first floor, equipped with a box office, concession area and bathrooms, loading dock, control booth, seats and more. The second floor will house a large lobby, one that looks down over the theater's entrance, a balcony, bathrooms, storage space and lighting.
The $5 million facility also will include a control room, catwalk, lighting oval, office space, an elevator, fly space, a trap room, an orchestra pit and stairs leading to the second floor.
Weil calls getting to this point -- only a few months away from an opening -- an accomplishment.
But as he has said many times over, rebuilding the Paramount has not been a David Weil effort.
Only now, he has more than 580,000 pieces of proof to substantiate that claim -- dollars that have come from community fundraisers, private donations and more.
It truly is a Goldsboro project, Weil said -- thanks to those who gave all they could to see a piece of the city's history come home.
"Over the past 50 years, I've been involved in many fundraising events, but I have never been involved in anything where the support came to me," he said. "People would call in and say, 'When are you going to come see me about a donation?' I have just never had that before, people calling me asking where they could send money and who to make the check payable to."
Information on making a donation and next year's performances are currently online.
And when you visit www.goldsboroparamount.com you can even watch a live Web-cast of work at the theater site.
"This gives you the ability to see the theater and you can see the workers," Weil said. "You can tune in and see what is going on. What I think is that people respond when they can see something happening. More importantly, after the theater is opened, you can go to that Web site, you can see what's playing and you can even see people coming to and going from performances. It's like a live billboard."
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