LeAnn Rimes Played the Altria Theater

(But you probably weren't invited.)



Country crooner LeAnn Rimes is delivering a short set tonight at Altria Theater for an invite-only crowd. It’s part of the kick-off to a three-day celebration to commemorate the re-opening of the Altria Theater.

The fee for Rimes’ set, which will be less than an hour, is being underwritten by a handful of individual donors -- basically sponsors, according to CenterStage spokesman Jay Smith. And while you probably aren’t on the invite list unless you’ve worked with or contributed to Altria, you can come to see the improvements, enjoy the new restrooms and buy refreshments during the annual InLight celebration Friday night.

“There are no [Rimes] tickets for sale. This is not a fundraiser,” Smith says. “It’s a thank you to contractors, architects, vendors. The invite list includes volunteer ushers, season subscribers, employees of companies that donate to the campaign, it’s very broad. We expect a large crowd.” Smith says the performance wasn’t something organizers could promote publicly “because if she comes back to do a show for patrons, they didn’t want to hurt tickets sales for the future.”

Officially, the Altria construction campaign still needs to raise $2.2 million, though that number should be lower because of recent donations that haven’t been publicly announced, according to Smith. When the construction funds are raised, organizers will begin focusing on their plan to raise $10 million for the Altria endowment.

“We’ve already raised several million for the endowment,” Smith says, “because some earlier donors specifically wanted money to be put toward that. We’re not starting at zero.”

There will be public tours of the Altria renovation offered Friday, starting at noon and running until 8 p.m. The theater will take part in the annual InLight celebration tomorrow night, which takes place at Monroe Park from 7 to midnight. Refreshments will be available in the Altria. Also, a piano and drum-machine performance, “The New Obsolete,” will be performed by Invisible in the Altria ballroom at 8 p.m. On Saturday, the official Richmond Forum season begins with a talk by long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad.

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