May 5, 2010

Big plans for Rivoli Theatre project
By Jennifer Grove

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Rivoli Theatre Group is hosting a "signing-of-the-plans" ceremony as they celebrate the completion of their plans for a nearly 800-seat multi-purpose theatre in Myrtle Beach.

Robert Pickett, who is on the group's board says the initial idea to create such a theatre, started out as plans to renovate the old Rivoli Theatre downtown.

"I think the availability of the old theater sparked it," Pickett said. "But it was soon determined that was not the thing to do."

Now the theatre group is budgeting for a $9.6 million project according to the group's executive director, Dr. Dale Vivirito. The project was initially projected to cost $7.5 million.

The city of Myrtle Beach says they are committed to providing $6 million in bonds for the project and will include the profits on the sale of the old Rivoli Theater, but the Rivoli Theatre Group must come up with the rest.

The theatre is slated to be built as an addition to the city's Convention Center.

Architect Steve Usry has been working on the plans for the theatre with the help of his entire staff.

"Now we are on the threshold," Usry said. "We have completed our work. The Rivoli theater group is raising funds. "

Usry says the aesthetic look of the plans are inspired by the original Rivoli Theatre downtown. For Pickett, the signing marks a very distinct milestone.

"We've been working for years modifying plans and so forth and this drives a stake in the ground," Pickett said, noting the plans are tangible proof that the theatre project is moving forward. "It takes it out of the realm of what if and puts it in reality."

He says Wednesday's ceremony has a number of different purposes beyond confirming the board's work with the architect.

"It also is to inform the public of where we are and that we are real and we're going to advance this thing," Pickett explained.

The facility will include multi-use spaces for citizen groups, Convention Center events, Broadway Shows, and more.

Vivirito says he is maintaining an optimistic goal to raise the rest of the funding needed through grants, donations, and other support by sometime in mid fall of 2010.

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