Paris by Night

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Paris by Night
The cover of the first episode.
Created byMarie Tô
Paul Huỳnh
Tô Văn Lai
StarringMasters of Ceremonies:
Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn
Nguyễn Cao Kỳ Duyên
Country of originFrance
Original language(s)Vietnamese
No. of episodes126 (as of May 2018)
Producer(s)Marie Tô
Paul Huỳnh
Production location(s)Various
Running timeApproximately 4-5 Hours
Production company(s)Thúy Nga
DistributorThúy Nga
Original release1983 – present

Paris by Night is a direct-to-video series featuring Vietnamese-language musical variety shows produced by Thúy Nga Productions. Hosted mainly by Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn and Nguyễn Cao Kỳ Duyên, the series includes musical performances by modern pop stars, traditional folk songs, one-act plays, and sketch comedy.[1]


Originally, Paris by Night was filmed exclusively in Paris, with its intended target audience consisting of the Vietnamese population in France. However, by the late 1980s, demand from the more populous Vietnamese American community for the production to host shows in the United States and the fact that most Vietnamese language performers from the former South Vietnam lived in the country resulted in Paris by Night restructuring its operations to Orange County, California (Specifically James Irvine Intermediate). The first Paris by Night productions in the United States were filmed beginning in the mid-1990s.[2][3]

Produced by Thúy Nga, the series normally consists of mostly the same staff and crew. However, there are different directors for each region of where the show is filmed: currently there is Richard Valverde in Paris, and Michael Watt in Canada and the US, Victor Fable in the US.

Notable former directors include The Voice's Alan Carter in the US, who directed six shows, CEO of production company A. Smith & Co. Kent Weed in the US, of six shows, and NBC director Ron de Moraes who directed four shows.

Starting with Paris by Night 34: Made In Paris, Shanda Sawyer has been working as the production's main choreographer for over ten years.


As an overseas Vietnamese production and classified as a "reactionary cultural product" by the Vietnamese government, Paris by Night cannot be legally purchased in Vietnam, although unauthorized copies can be easily obtained in the black market. It sometimes features performances that are related to historical events, critical of the ruling Vietnamese Communist Party. In 2004, in Paris by Night 74, Hoang Oanh sang a song about Operation Passage to Freedom and a video montage was shown depicting beleaguered-looking northern Vietnamese fleeing to the anti-communist south during the partition of Vietnam, where they were met by Ngô Đình Diệm and his government's officials. This performance coincided with the 50th anniversary of the migration. In 2005, Paris by Night 77 was devoted to the 30-year anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, and included songs explicitly critical of communist rule, lack of human rights, accompanied by montages of the closing stages of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, the flight of distressed anti-communist refugees, and interpretative dancing critical of VCP rule, such as throat-slitting gestures. It also included documentary segments on the progress of Vietnamese immigrant communities since 1975, including one segment praising American support for South Vietnam and Operation Babylift—the communist government views the babylift of orphans as "abduction"—and gave awards to Vietnamese humanitarians and American political officials who helped Vietnamese refugees, as well as the Republic of Vietnam Air Force fighter pilot Nguyễn Qúy An.

In Paris by Night 91, for the 40th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, one medley involved Quang Lê singing about the beauty of the former Huế, backed by female dancers, before an explosion knocks them and the bridge over the Perfume River to the ground, something perpetrated by the communists during the Battle of Huế during the Tet Offensive. Khánh Ly then proceeded to sing Trịnh Công Sơn's "Song for dead bodies" about the communist massacre at Huế, which killed thousands. A video montage of the massacre, inconsolable relatives and the subsequent exhumation and religious reburial was shown in the background during Khanh Ly's performance.

It is also the subject of some controversies among the overseas Vietnamese population due to what some perceive as its support of the current government of Việt Nam. Paris by Night 40, with the topic of motherhood, featured a song by the composer Trịnh Công Sơn titled "Ca Dao Me", which was performed by Don Hồ. The song included a reenactment of a bombing during the Vietnam War and showed a mother grieving over the death of her child and her husband. Some were offended by the song's antiwar message while others see this as an indictment against American and South Vietnamese troops even though the scene did not make it clear which side was doing the bombing. After a boycott, Thúy Nga reissued Paris by Night 40 with the bombing scenes removed. Paris by Night 40 is the most commercially successful production. The director of the segment, Lưu Huỳnh, later went on to direct The White Silk Dress in Việt Nam, a film with similar themes.

In Paris by Night 96, Thúy Nga Productions's Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn wrote a skit about a Vietnamese American gay, starring Bang Kieu. This sparked conversations among Vietnamese American parents and their gay children. It helped build more tolerance for Vietnamese American gay lesbian bisexual and transgender community overseas. This shows the company's cultural influence over the Vietnamese American culture, experience and audience.

There has also been increasing recent criticism of the production over-Americanizing its shows, with traditional Vietnamese culture and aspects no longer being emphasized as before, as well as the production largely losing its original French cabaret influence and roots. In fact, Paris by Night has not been filmed in its namesake city since 2003, Paris by Night 70.

List of episodes[edit]

Notable performers[edit]




With the exception of two shows, Paris by Night has been filmed live before an audience.

City/Region Number of shows Most recent year
Cerritos, California, United States 1 1993
Paris, France 43 2003
San Jose, California, United States 4 2005
Atlanta, Georgia, United States 1 2006
Toronto, Canada 21 2007
Houston, Texas, United States 2 2007
Seoul, South Korea 1 2007
Long Beach, California, United States 10 2008
Orange County, California, United States 13 2011
Ledyard, Connecticut, United States 2 2013
Durant, Oklahoma, United States 1 2016
Temecula, California, United States 4 2017
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 9 2017
Temecula, California, United States 1 2017
Prior Lake, Minnesota, United States 1 2018


  1. ^ "We'll Always Have Paris By Night". San Francisco Weekly. 2010-06-23. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  2. ^ Karim, Karim Haiderali (2003). The Media of Diaspora. Psychology Press. p. 121. ISBN 9780415279307. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  3. ^ "For Vietnamese, 'Paris By Night' is a mix of Vegas, nostalgia and pre-war culture". Public Radio International. 2014-02-10. Retrieved 2014-05-31.

External links[edit]