Rocky Mountain Christmas packs Hemet Historic Theatre

Next up: New Year’s Eve presentation of Rocky Horror Picture Show

Photos courtesy of Hemet Historic Theatre
Jim Curry gives only about a dozen Christmas concerts each year.

■ By Susan Carrier / Contributed

On Saturday Dec. 16, hundreds of John Denver fans packed the Historic Hemet Theatre to hear Jim Curry perform his popular “Rocky Mountain Christmas” concert. Curry performs only a dozen Christmas shows across the country, prompting fans from throughout southern California to flock to Hemet for this event.
The concert held a mixture of Christmas classics and beloved John Denver hits, similar to the TV specials for which Denver was famous. Jim Curry’s wife, Anne, performed as part of the group, taking the lead in several songs. Videos of dramatic mountain vistas played on the screen behind the band, adding a special dimension not seen in most concerts.
Holiday spirit was in full force, the audience responding with cheers and enthusiastic applause with each song. Many songs prompted the crowd to sing along with both Christmas classics and Denver classic hits. Some of the love songs brought couples into each other’s arms on the dance floor.

Curry performed several songs with his wife, Anne.

The event was the final concert of the year for HHT. In 2017, HHT hosted 18 tribute concerts and dozens of classic movies, as well as 17 events for other organizations. Those numbers are expected to increase in 2018, including the expansion to three concert series, each series holding eight tribute concerts.
Capping off the year will be “Rocky Horror New Year’s Eve” on Sunday Dec. 31. For those unfamiliar with the cult film, Rocky Horror Picture Show is a goofy musical about a transvestite mad scientist who designs himself a lover and a naive couple that gets caught up in the ensuing celebration. The film is really strange, but the real entertainment is the audience participation experience that has evolved through the years and keeps fans coming back again and again. Keep in mind that the film is rated R. Foul language and sexual content are a big part of both the film and the standard audience callouts. Many fans dress in costumes to match the characters on the screen (which are really bizarre).
A series of props are absolutely necessary. For the New Year’s Eve showing, HHT will provide a bag of 11 props. Among the props are a squirt gun (to simulate rain) and a newspaper (to hold over your head), noisemakers, confetti, and a roll of toilet paper and deck of playing cards (both to throw into the air). The prop bag also includes a list describing the timing for each prop. To keep theater clean-up manageable, outside props are not permitted.

The setting for the Christmas concert at HHT was complete with Christmas trees and Santa.

The highlight of the film is the “Time Warp” dance that gets the audience dancing in the aisles. “It’s just a jump to the left…and then a step to the right…with your hands on your hips…you pull your knees in tight…”
Tickets for Rock Horror New Year’s Eve are $15 and include a bag of props and a champagne toast at midnight. Quantities of prop bags will be limited, so pre-purchase your ticket to make sure you get in on the fun. Outside props will not be permitted. Before the show, cult fans will provide a rundown on the use of the props for newbies. Come dressed for the costume contest to add to the fun. Door prizes will include tickets to upcoming concerts.
Doors open at 9 p.m., with newbie orientation starting at 9:30 and the movie starting at 10 p.m. Following the movie will be a countdown to a toast at midnight and a costume contest. Rated R, under 17 not admitted without a parent/guardian.
Event tickets are available online at www.PurplePass.com or at the theatre ticket office. Ticket Office hours are Monday–Friday 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Tickets are also available at the Downtown Deli, 113 N. Harvard St. and the Harvard Street Music Exchange, 134 S. Harvard St.
Information on all theatre events is available at www.HistoricHemetTheatre.com or by calling the ticket office, (951) 658-5950. A weekly email blast of upcoming events is available by enrolling on the website.

Curry’s rendition of John Denver inspires romance among listeners.

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