Celebrity Club Documentary — Weekend

Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn, Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis Jr., Fats Domino, Ella Fitzgerald — these are just a few of the musicians who played at Providence’s Celebrity Club. In honor of Black History Month the filmmakers behind the documentary “Do it, Man: The Story of the Celebrity Club”  will be streaming it for free this Saturday and Sunday.

This film tells the story of Providence’s legendary Celebrity Club, located in an African-American neighborhood, Randall Square, and owned by an Italian-American, Paul Filippi [father of state legislator Blake]. The Celebrity Club is believed to be the first interracial nightclub in New England and featured top national jazz and R&B acts as well as local talent throughout the 1950s. Music royalty such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and Fats Domino would come to Providence and stay for weeklong engagements.

Weeklong? What a time for music fans! The Celebrity Club was New England’s first integrated jazz club with national headliners from 1949 to 1960. (From the Rhode to Freedom at the Stages of Freedom website.)

To watch this weekend: Check in with the film’s Facebook page this Saturday.

“Do It, Man! The Story of The Celebrity Club” is a film about a forgotten club with an unforgettable story! This is a film all Rhode Islander’s should see! It’s a positive, upbeat, musical tribute to Black History Month.
We’re thrilled to share our film, free, on Saturday, 2/26 & Sunday, 2/27.

Check back here Saturday 2/26 for the link to view the film.

Unfortunately, the original building at 54 Randall Street was lost to the bulldozers of urban renewal. A commemorative Celebrity Club sign had been placed down the street at the triangle in front of the gas station/car wash in Randall Square. It disappeared in 2019, but happily it has since turned up at the DPW. (Seems like it might have been knocked over by snow plows or such.) WPRI reported that efforts were being made to reinstall the sign but as of last week, it was still not there.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Providence Daily Dose