Building a Legacy

April 2024
Written By: 
Harold Rohrback
Photographs by: 
courtesy of Greg Rowles Legacy Theatre & Harold Rohrback

A lifetime of honing his craft, building relationships, and entertaining audiences has come full circle to unveil “The Greg Rowles Legacy Theatre”

Most buildings are constructed of simple brick, wood and mortar, but the music venue recently renovated on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach also possesses a solid foundation built on faith, family values and an abundance of world-class talent. The Greg Rowles Legacy Theatre,  to open April 1, promises an experience unlike any other available on the Grand Strand. The “all-live” venue is a culmination of a lifetime of experiences which have molded the format to create a show that will captivate, entertain and surprise. A sense of family is something every patron will experience in the intimate setting and interactive format. 

For Greg Rowles, this venture is a lifetime in the making, a destiny fulfilled and a platform for new legacies to blossom. It just wouldn’t be Rowles if he weren’t including others in his own rewards. As his business partner and friend Brad Alexander, says: “Greg is one of the most compassionate and caring persons on the planet.”  The format of live musical instruments, ever-changing song selections and ad-libbing by the cast are designed by Rowles to create “a more intimate setting for folks to feel at home.”

Greg’s family values were instilled early by his parents, Lewis and Alice, whom he wishes dearly could be here to share the experience. Rowles says that his dad always instilled in him that “whatever you do, enjoy the process.”

Rowles’ journey would take him from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee to Vatican City and to The Alabama Theatre in Myrtle Beach. Along the way he would also win “1994 Star Search Male Vocalist of the Year” and be inducted into The South Carolina Entertainment & Music Hall of Fame.

His most important decision early on in the journey was to marry his sweetheart, Brandee, who is his balance, as he is hers. They have been blessed at every turn while watching their dreams unfold, and Brandee gives credit where credit is due when she says “We are constantly amazed at the opportunities that God presents to us.” 

Travel back to 2022 at the Twelve 33 Distillery, where Rowles was doing the one-man show he had been performing around town since leaving The Alabama Theatre. Brandee was talking with Alexander, a local developer, about Greg’s dream of opening a fresh concept, live, variety theatre like nothing else in town where the best-of-the-best local talent could let their creative juices flow. It just so happened that Alexander was developing and building the North Myrtle Beach Main Street Project and he had hit a snag. The building adjacent to Kroger shopping center, which was originally built in 1989 by Calvin Gilmore as Dixie Jubilee and most recently as Valorous Church, could not be changed and had to remain as is.

Alexander is also a man who has followed God’s leading in his life and he had felt the same vision of someday being a part of a family-friendly entertainment venue. Alexander said that his plan was simple: “I’ll build the building and Greg builds the show.” Alexander drew up plans, showed them to Greg and Brandee and the ball started rolling. “I surrounded myself with people who know,” says Alexander. The concepts were batted back and forth about food, but was ultimately agreed to stick to what they did best and that was to entertain folks with the best show possible. To this end, Rowles enlisted an all-star, world-class ensemble of performers and backstage crew. Many in the ensemble go back to his early days when they performed together in Nashville.

Susan Frye, “Seamstress to the Stars” for decades at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and now retired, remembers getting the call from Rowles to be the wardrobe “Empress” for the theatre.  “I immediately said ‘Yes’. No questions asked. I love that guy.”

The story seems to be the same for virtually every cast member and crew. Featured performer, singing partner and great friend, Jason Cox, has performed all over the world and is “Excited to be back with Greg and this new adventure.” You may recognize his veteran, accomplished wife, Christine, from local TV shows or singing at Wellspring Church.  “The show will always be fresh, with creative tweaking from a close-knit, loving cast.”

Cyndi Wheeler is one of the other featured performers. She started singing in church at an early age and has performed with some of the top names in the entertainment business in addition to receiving three Grammy nominations for her work.

Holding down the horn section and guitar is Mark Perry, who is not only known for his New York Broadway musical experience, but is also an accomplished fisherman. Kenny Duncan brings his guitar work that he has honed over the years playing with some of the musical greats. George Hyde Sr. brings over 45 years of entertaining with both the electric and upright bass to folks up and down the East coast. Jerry Lane, Myrtle Beach’s Piano Man, has been playing the piano all of his life with some of the greats in country music. In 2014, Lane had a No.1 hit called “Carved in Stone” on The Country Christian Contemporary billboard charts. Bill Hein has played the drums professionally for over 30 years and says “It’s hard to find this many good people in one group. Audiences will feel the positive Vibe.” Jon Finley has handled marketing and couldn’t be happier with the outpouring of support. Duane Farmer is the GM/MC/whatever else he can do to help. With over 40 years in the entertainment business, he took the job on a handshake when Rowles asked. “We want everyone who attends to feel like family and giving back to the community is paramount,” says Farmer. Cyndi Wheeler exclaims: “We can’t wait. Let’s get this thing started!”

It sounds like they are all on the same page.

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