The Doña Ana Arts Council is celebrating the Rio Grande Theatre's 10th Anniversary as downtown's renovated heart of the city in grand style. The public is cordially invited to join in the celebration on Saturday, September 26, when Main Street will become the staging ground for a high-profile dinner and show like no other.

It all begins at 5:30 p.m. with a blast from the past, as Double Eagle restaurant caters a Rock 'n Roll-themed dinner, complete with retro foods served up on vinyl platters, along with soft drinks, beer and wine. Attendees of the dinner will receive a spill-proof celebratory "tipsy" cup with the Rio Grande Theatre's 10th Anniversary logo emblazoned across the front, commemorating not just the event, but the very first time in over ten years that drinks will be allowed inside the auditorium.

At 7 p.m. that decision will be put to the test, as attendees will be invited to bring their drinks inside for an evening of nostalgic entertainment hosted by Master of Ceremonies, Jim Shearer. To start the evening, the Doña Ana Arts Council will make a brief presentation of one very special and prestigious award, the Papen Family Award. Named in honor of the late Senator Frank Papen and the Papen family, whose dedicated leadership, involvement and support of the arts has so richly served and benefited our community, the award honors individuals who demonstrate their commitment to the arts through leadership, service and/or financial support. This year's recipients are Marian and Jordan Wolle, whose vision and 25 years of annual funding have provided the backbone for the Career Art Path program. This is the only arts award that will be presented this year.

Immediately following the presentation, the entertainment portion of the evening will open with Las Cruces' own "Remember Then... A Class Act", featuring former Las Cruces mayor Ruben Smith on saxophone, Rudy Apodaca on keyboard, Royce Bandel on percussion, Lynn Boetticher on lead guitar, Barb Edmonds on vocals, Phil Holmes on bass guitar and Ron Leone on trumpet and vocals.

A brief intermission will allow attendees to refresh their drinks and return to the Rio Grande Theatre auditorium at 8:00 pm when the headline show, straight from Las Vegas, Nevada begins-- "A Salute To The Platters with Elmer Armstrong". Singing lead tenor for the group since original Platter Paul Robi passed away, Armstrong is accompanied by bass Larry Tate; alto and former member of the Chordettes, Kathy Celsy; and accomplished gospel singer, Lavan Davis. Having spent the past two decades recreating the Platters sound, with such hits as "Only You," "The Great Pretender" and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," Armstrong and his group have expanded to include hits from Motown, Nat Cole, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra and even Michael Jackson.

After the show, attendees are invited outside the theater for one last treat, dessert and music under the stars. The dress for the evening is Rock 'n Roll casual, so break out those poodle skirts and leather jackets, generously apply the Brylcream and Aqua Net, put on your dancing shoes and prepare to dance the night away! Tickets for this very special evening are $60 and may be purchased online at, by calling (575)523-6403, or by visiting the Rio Grande Theatre box office, Monday through Friday 9-5, on the 2nd floor of the theatre.

Originally built in 1926 as a premiere movie palace, the Rio Grande Theatre closed in 1997, only to be rescued from obscurity by the Doña Ana Arts Council, then renovated and reopened on September 16, 2005 by a community pulling together to restore their beloved historic landmark. The theatre now operates as a full-service, 426-seat performance facility, playing host to a variety of performers, from children's theatre and dance recitals to legendary musicians and national touring groups. The only remaining two-story adobe theatre in the country, the Rio Grande Theatre has been placed on the State Register of Cultural Properties and the National Registry of Historic Places. It continues to be a social hub of activity in southern New Mexico.
For more information about the Rio Grande Theatre's 10th Anniversary Celebration, or to purchase tickets for the birthday dinner and performances, visit or call (575) 523-6403. The Rio Grande Theatre is located at 211 N. Main Street, Las Cruces, New Mexico.