Living the Dream at the River Rock Show Theatre
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The Future is Binary – In honour of River Rock Casino Resort’s 10th Anniversary, the River Rock Show Theatre kicked off the month of June with an exciting lineup of performances including Martin Short, Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, Salt-n-Pepa with Shock G of Digital Underground, Powder Blues and Paul Rodgers.
This is not the first time that such great performers have graced the River Rock Show Theatre stage. In the last 10 years, over 500 shows have been presented at the intimate 995 seat state-of-the-art theatre including legends such as Diana Ross, James Brown, INXS, Chris Rock, Liza Minnelli, Lionel Richie and Tony Bennett.
“The focus of the River Rock Show Theatre was to build a venue that offers diverse entertainment choices. To deliver on that promise, the theatre was built by the Gala Systems and allows us to have the flexibility of presenting high caliber concert performances, boxing events, multicultural and game shows. With a push of a button, the theatre is able to transform into various seating modes in under 10 minutes,” said Peter Goudron, Senior Vice President, Operations – West, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.
The River Rock Show Theatre is not just a venue that features great artists, but is also a place where some of the wildest dreams and aspirations have become a reality.
In the case of Kelly Yu, the River Rock Show Theatre was where she had the opportunity to live her dream and not only meet Peter Frampton but also perform with him on stage. In 2008, Yu was a teenager who desperately wanted to give Frampton a sample of her music, so she waited for four hours outside the theatre’s back entrance with the hopes of meeting Frampton. When he passed by, she reached out and asked him to listen to her CD. He took her CD and liked what he heard so much that the next day, Frampton’s team got in touch with Yu to arrange their live, on stage performance. Their jam session left Yu star-struck and in shock. Frampton was quoted as saying, “I just heard her passion, it’s a funny word to be able to hear – but I could hear the passion. She is a virtuoso in the making on the guitar, and she is a wonderful piano player. One day I will be giving her my new CD and asking her to listen to it to see if she will let me sit in with her.”
Another special moment that occurred at the River Rock Show Theatre was related to a six-year-old autistic boy named Jacob Stengert, a true fan of the game show Deal or No Deal and host Howie Mandel. During Mandel’s performance at the theatre, Stengert’s parents reached out to see if they could get a photo signed by Mandel for their son. After hearing about Stengert’s story, the entertainment manager made arrangements for Mandel to personally call Jacob and speak to him directly. After the call, Jacob was ecstatic but it all became that much better when he was personally invited by Mandel to see his second show the following night. When Jacob met Mandel, they had a great chat and even hugged each other. That night, before Jacob went to bed, he thanked his Dad for making his dream come true.
“There are so many personal stories where our guests were able to either fulfill a dream or see a performer that they idolized for years right here at the River Rock Show Theatre. One of my personal favourites was when we hosted The Price is Right Live and in the registration lineup a couple got engaged. The groom-to-be had special T-shirts made that were similar to what other show attendees were wearing and when he proposed the entire resort was cheering them on,” added Goudron.
River Rock Casino Resort is owned by the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC), Canada’s largest gaming service and hospitality operator with 17 facilities located throughout BC, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Washington State. Every year, River Rock Casino Resort provides support to the Richmond community through volunteering services, in-kind donations or financial contributions. Some of the charitable organizations that River Rock has supported are: Richmond Family Place, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Richmond Food Bank, Richmond Society for Community Living, Richmond Chinese Community Society, and Volunteer Richmond Information Services. In 2013, the City of Richmond received $17.6 million from the River Rock Casino Resort in host local government payments and since River Rock’s inception, the city has received $113.9 million. These funds have been dedicated to the construction costs of the Richmond Olympic Oval as well as certain community grants, and future revenue will fund the construction of the new Minoru Aquatic Centre.