The Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center in downtown St Cloud MN was established in 1921 as the Sherman Theatre featuring vaudeville acts, operas, concerts, animal acts, plays, movies and speakers. This is how the grand tradition of entertainment began at the Paramount and it is one of my favorite reasons to love living in St Cloud MN.
The Paramount was and is the finest theatre in St Cloud with a capacity of 1700, an ornate lobby and foyer, and an impressive organ complete with orchestra pit. The stage is ample enough to accommodate theatrical sets and up to 30 dancers, while performers enjoy private dressing rooms and (what was in the 20s and has since been updated again) state of the art air conditioning. The location in downtown St Cloud is an easy walk to hotels, restaurants and shops. The theatre was renamed in 1930 when it was remodeled along with adding a sound system for the talking pictures and a new marquee went up.
I first visited the Paramount in the 1960's and saw several great films, The Sound of Music, several Clint Eastwood movies, and later Star Wars. I liked the old theatre. A fire in 1985 did serious damage, renovations began in 1990, more was done in 2005 and the St Cloud Paramount was restored to its highest potential complete with full wheelchair accessibility.
Today, the Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center is a hub of art education and development. It offers space for exhibits, teaching, performing and professional development of the arts. The stage is available to local groups as well as professional touring musicians and live stage performances.
Upcoming acts at the Paramount in St Cloud MN include the plays "The Love Knot" and "Don't Hug Me"; musical acts such as Joan Baez, The Oakridge Boys, Alpha Centauri, Laura Caviani, Tonic Sol Fa and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The Holiday season is a rich time at the Paramount, but then its rich all year round. There is the Paramount Parking Ramp directly behind the theatre for the ease of the patrons.
The last time we went to the Paramount Theatre we saw a live performance of Oklahoma, we will be going back for the Nutcracker this Christmas, if not before, definitely to see a spaghetti western, hopefully sometime soon.
The Paramount is a stunningly beautiful theatre, a real treat for any theatre loving person, and if you are in St Cloud it belongs on your must see list of places to go.