02/10/13 — Five years ... strong

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Five years ... strong

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on February 10, 2013 1:50 AM

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Dancers from Artistic Productions Inc. perform the Creation scene from the upcoming Dance for Christ performance, which will be held at the Paramount Theatre in March, during the theater's fifth anniversary gala.

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The exterior of the Paramount Theatre during the theater's fifth anniversary gala. The Paramount was rebuilt after a fire destroyed the original 123-year-old building in February 2005.

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Mayor Al King touches David Weil's shoulder in a gesture of thanks while Weil holds the ceremonial key to the Paramount Theatre.

David Weil sits near the back of the Paramount Theatre wearing a tuxedo.

It's the same one he donned five years prior at the theater's grand reopening after it was rebuilt, but he says it fit him better Friday night at the Paramount Theatre's Fifth Anniversary Gala.

"I bought it five years and one month ago," he said. "Then in the last two weeks (leading up to the opening) we were working so hard I lost 15 pounds.

"It was hanging off of me."

But eight years after a fire destroyed the historic Paramount Theatre, Weil, standing in the building he is largely credited with making a reality, said he's glad to have a reason for the formal wear.

"I guess I'll have a reason to get it out every five years," he said.

Weil and Goldsboro Mayor Al King welcomed local dignitaries and the county's best performers in kicking off the gala, but King made certain to share that the anniversary the city was celebrating might not have been a possibility without Weil's work.

"We would have built this facility one day, but it wouldn't have been five years ago," he said.

Weil formed the Paramount Theatre Foundation after the fire, working tirelessly to make the rebuild a reality.

The foundation has continued to support the theater, contributing more than $90,000 to its upkeep since its opening, but Paramount Theatre Sherry Archibald sought to keep things in perspective Friday night, focusing not on the revenue the Paramount had attracted, but the performances and experiences it has brought to Goldsboro.

The theater has hosted more than 200,000 visitors and more than 800 events since it reopened in February 2008, she said, while Weil noted that more than 30,000 students from Wayne County Public Schools had attended shows at the theater, solidifying the area's arts future.

The gala offered a sampler of what the theater will offer this spring, featuring performances from Center Stage Theater's Two-Eyed Titus, which premieres this Friday, along with numbers by Dance for Christ, StageStruck and Goldsboro Ballet.

That the theater has been well-used and continues to attract performers is no surprise to Weil, however. He said while others fretted about the feasibility of rebuilding the Paramount, he felt the city's 120-year history of being a performing arts hub was proof enough the theater wouldn't be built in vain.

"Goldsboro has always been a performance outlet," he said. "I knew the users were here."

And Friday's gala was no exception, as the theater was nearly filled for the program, which was emceed by Judge Tim Finan and attorney Geoff Hulse, who took a moment away from their comedic banter to put Weil's role in keeping the theater concept alive.

"This theater would still be a dream if not for him," Hulse said. "But where there's a Weil, there's a way."