Work is finally starting on the Pat Boone Theater - which had planned to open in Myrtle Beach a year ago - with officials aiming to have the first shows late this summer.
The lagging economy and trouble getting financing amid the tight lending environment delayed the theater, which is moving into the former NASCAR Cafe building at the corner of U.S. 17 Bypass and 21st Avenue North, said Kelly Burton, the theaters recently hired marketing director.
Theater officials, who announced the plans for the venue in January 2010, acknowledge that the delays might have cast doubt on whether the theater would happen, but say this time its a go.
It is finally going to happen, Burton said. We know theyve been wondering. We are here. It is coming.
This time, the theater has received the first of a series of permits it will need from the city that allow work on the building to begin. On Wednesday, the theater got a permit from the city to do demolition inside the building, city spokesman Mark Kruea said. But the theater would have to get additional approval from the city, including a building permit, before moving forward beyond demolition.
They will need to bring plans back to us, Kruea said. This allows them to begin demolition.
It will cost about $1 million to renovate the former restaurant into a 600-seat theater and install a stage, Burton said.
The theater, which will have a resident illusionist, gospel concerts, Christmas shows and other family friendly events, aims to have a soft opening in mid-July and a grand opening in August, Burton said. Evening shows will cost $34.95, while matinees will cost $24.95. Childrens tickets will be $8.95.
Illusionist Morgan Strebler will have a resident magic act at the theater, and Boone will perform about 14 days a year, Burton said.
There also will be a Boone museum that will feature some of his memorabilia, and an Illusions ultra lounge, which Burton described as a late-night spot for adults to gather to hear music, but said its not a nightclub and is consistent with the theaters family image. The lounge will open in early fall, Burton said.
The new theater is one of several changes to the Grand Strands live show lineup this year. Dixie Stampede, after 19 years, has transformed into Pirates Voyage, which debuts June 3. And Legends in Concert moved from Surfside Beach to 29th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach earlier this year.