52-54 Randall St
Founded in 1949 by Paul Filippi, the Celebrity Club was not just the first integrated club in Providence. It was also the first integrated club in all of New England. While the Celebrity Club was closed in the early 60s, it made an indelible mark on the Providence arts scene, and made Providence a major New England destination for many Black artists and performers.
–written by Lydia Kelow-Bennett
Image Source (Top): Lara Stein Pardo - - 2013
Sarah Vaughan Performs at the Celebrity Club 1st Year Anniversary
In late April/early May 1952, the Celebrity Club celebrated its first year in business. The club went above and beyond, bringing in big name stars from far and wide. Sarah Vaughan was one of the artists who came to perform at the celebration.
Tanya dances at the Celebrity Club with Cuban musician Joe Curbelo
The Baltimore Afro-American reported on Tanya's Afro-Cuban dancing twice in May 1952, based on a two-week set of performances she did at the Celebrity Club. Tanya was a rumba dancer. One of those performances was in conjunction with the Celebrity Club's 1 year anniversary celebration, where she collaborated with Cuban musician Jose Curbelo.
Erroll Garner sets house record at Celebrity Club
Errol Garner set the house record at the Celebrity Club in the spring of 1951. It was a success he would repeat in Boston and San Francisco within weeks of each other. These events would catapult Garner on a nationwide tour, and boost his record sales with Columbia Records, according to articles in the Chicago Defender (May 19, 1951 and November 24, 1951).
Erroll Garner’s first opening as a bandleader
Garner’s first opening as a bandleader was at the Celebrity Club in Providence, the week of March 5, 1951. He went on to major fame on the jazz circuit.
Cootie Williams at Celebrity Club
In September of 1950, Celebrity Club signed Cootie Williams to inaugurate their "name" band policy. He was one of the first major performers at the Celebrity Club.