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|The Paragon lives again...|
The Twin Cities have always boasted a vibrant, glittering nightlife.
For many, Monroe after dark reached a pinnacle with the Paragon Club, a nightspot operated by Joe and Tony Cascio from 1955 until the mid-1970s.
The Paragon's storied place in the community's history is what led another long-time institution to pick it as the setting for "Renaissance of the Paragon", a one-night-only masquerade and spectacular staged at Canard's Centre in West Monroe's Richland Tower.
Strauss Theatre volunteer and event organizer Mark Sanders said the buzz surrounding this year's fundraiser gala has been highlighted by the stories everyone knows about the Paragon Club.
"Those with their ear to the ground have probably already heard the buzz—the entire evening is dedicated to the memory of the Paragon Club and the people who made it famous," Sanders said.
"Although many stars graced the doors of the club, the celebrities that made it legendary were our family and friends," Sanders said.
He said the masked ball will also give people the opportunity to share stories and relive memories of the times they or family members spent at the Paragon Club.
"Whether you danced in the ballroom or met friends in the Royal Room—even if you never made it to the Paragon, but your family members did—this is your opportunity to share your memories," Sanders said.
Studio 54 star and musical sensation Mary Griffin will headline the event, performing a number of songs from her extensive repertoire.
Griffin is best known for her appearances on the Martha Stewart Show, as well as her turn as a featured artist on Patti Labelle's most recent album.
Also, throughout the night, patrons will be entertained by local entertainers Todd Martin and Lori Leggitt.
Martin is known for his portrayal of Elvis, but for "Renaissance of the Paragon," he will reach further back and bring audiences his version of Dean Martin. Leggitt will appear as Patsy Cline.
Following Griffin's performance, Bluff City Blues will provide music for patrons to dance the night away.
A menu prepared by Joanne Caldwell-Bayles and Chef Ken Naron of Canards will reflect the evening's theme. There will also be an open bar.
Tickets for the event are $50 per person and available by calling the Strauss Theatre Center box office at (318) 323-6681.