Rio Grande Theatre celebrates 10 years since reopening

rio-grandeIn September 2005, the freshly renovated Rio Grande Theatre began the next chapter in its evolution as an entertainment and cultural center in the heart of Las Cruces. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the historic 89-year-old theater’s reincarnation and the Doña Ana Arts Council is pulling out all the stops to celebrate with a three-day-long birthday bash, September 24 – 26. The celebration theme is “Rock’n and Roll’n for 10 Years!”

It all kicks off the evening of Thursday, September 24, with cake and music on Main Street outside the theater, beginning at 6 p.m. The doors will also be open for admission to the theater for a free evening of entertainment, beginning at 7 p.m., with the screening of a brand new mini-documentary on the last 10 years of the Rio Grande Theatre’s rebirth, by David Salcido and PRC Productions.

On Friday, September 25, take a trip down memory lane and experience the new high-definition projector and sound system recently installed in the Rio Grande Theatre, when the classic 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is screened at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. — in anticipation of Mark Medoff ’s new original play about Marilyn Monroe. The screenings are free and open to the public.

Saturday, September 26, is the highlight of the celebration, beginning with screenings of Rob Reiner’s 1987 blockbuster The Princess Bride at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Bring Price’s milk caps and cartons for free admission, just like the good old days!

At 5:30 Saturday evening, a Rock ‘n’ Roll-themed dinner will be held outside the theater on Main Street, complete with a spill-proof commemorative cup so drinks can be taken inside the theater for the first time in almost two decades.

Then, at 7 p.m. Saturday evening, attendees will be invited inside for performances by Las Cruces’ own Remember Then, followed by A Salute To The Platters with Elmer Armstrong, a show straight from Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition, one very special award will be presented to community members who have gone above and beyond in the pursuit of excellence in the arts. After the show, dessert and music will await the audience outside the theater. Tickets for this very special evening are $60 and can be purchased online at

“The whole theme of this three-day celebration is a big thank you to the community for supporting ten rock’n years at the Rio Grande Theatre,” said Executive Director for the Doña Ana Arts Council Kathleen Albers. “We couldn’t have done it without that support. It’s been a true community effort and an amazing ride. We’re looking forward to the next fifty years!”

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 10 Anniversary Celebration, or to purchase tickets for the Saturday evening dinner and performances, visit or call 523-6403.

Friday, September 4, 5 7 p.m.: Downtown Ramble reception
The El Paso Electric Gallery, located in the lobby of the Rio Grande Theate, will feature retrospective photographs and artwork from the last 89 years of the Rio Grande Theatre’s history, to help commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the theater’s renovation. Free and open to the public. Regular exhibit hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, or to book an exhibit, call the Arts Council offices during regular working hours.

Tuesday, September 15, 6:30 p.m. Every Other Tuesday: No Strings Attached
Called “the busiest drummer in the Southwest,” Joe Seltzer introduces his latest “power” ensemble, No Strings Attached, featuring accomplished musicians Mark Czacki on guitar, Anthony Movsesian on bass and Seltzer on drums. With a set list including tunes from Jeff Beck to Frank Zappa and King Crimson to Tony Williams Lifetime, the trio is sure to delight. Every Other Tuesday is a Doña Ana Arts Council program that showcases local and traveling performers beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, September 19, 1 p.m.: Latino Americans screening
The Branigan Cultural Center presents the first in a six-part, National Endowment for the Humanitiessupported documentary series Latino Americans, originally created for PBS in 2014 by the WETA public television station. The award-winning series chronicles the history of Latinos in the United States, from the 16th century to present day. There will be an open discussion panel with guest speakers directly following the screening. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. and the presentation begins at 1 p.m. Admission is free to the general public. For more information, call 541-2154.

Saturday, September 19, 5 p.m.: Celebration of Recovery
The United Healthcare Community Plan presents an evening that celebrates recovery and helps give voice to people who suffer from behavioral health addiction issues. Keynote speaker for the evening will be Kevin Hines, who travels the world, sharing his powerful story of unlikely survival and his strong will to live after surviving a suicide attempt off the Golden Gate Bridge. A screening of the documentary The Anonymous People will also be presented, with a discussion following. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the presentation begins at 5 p.m. Admission is free to the general public. For more information, call Mari at (877) 339-1616.

Friday, September 25, noon: Promoting Art: Marketing and The Business of Art
A free bi-monthly series presented by the Doña Ana Arts Council exploring different ways for artists and arts organizations to promote themselves and their events. The featured presenters for September will be Cathie Fern, on “An Introduction to SCORE;” Cathy Lockman on “Using Social Media for Marketing;” Cindy Breedlove on “Organizing for Success” and Pat Breedlove on “Marketing and The Business of Art.”

Tuesday, September 29, 6:30 p.m.: Every Other Tuesday: Danny Ruley
Danny Ruley is back for his third EOT performance, singing country, rock and jazz songs, peppered with a little romance, a little crying, a little laughing and a story or two to bring back memories of those special moments from yesteryear. Every Other Tuesday is a Doña Ana Arts Council program that showcases local and traveling performers beginning promptly at 6:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

The Rio Grande Theatre is located at 211 N. Main Street. For additional information, visit or contact the Doña Ana Arts Council at 523-6403, located on the second floor of the Rio Grande Theatre.