■ Susan Carrier / Contributed
Last weekend, the Historic Hemet Theatre celebrated a series of special milestones, further elevating the profile of the valley’s vintage movie house turned community arts center.
On Saturday, Jim Curry was in town to perform his famous tribute to the music of John Denver. The sellout crowd included fans from all across Southern California and Arizona, celebrating the music of “America’s Troubadour.”
Curry has appeared four times at HHT, but this time, the show included a very special guest appearance. John Sommers was a member of John Denver’s band for many years and wrote several John Denver songs, including the number one hit, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” For Saturday’s show, he joined the band for several songs, playing mandolin, banjo and fiddle. For all of the ardent John Denver fans in the house, it was a very special treat.
Saturday’s crowd was also delighted to be the first to see the latest results of the renovation under way at HHT. New carpeting and a new concession stand have updated the look of the theatre lobby, the first phase of a remodel that is transforming the Hemet landmark into a popular valley attraction. The decor is based on lobby photos from the 1940s, with design by Steve Covington (owner of the Downtown Deli). Elegant custom-printed Shaw carpet was provided by New Horizon Carpets. Carpentry was completed by local resident Ben Ortiz.
Then on Sunday, HHT was host to the award ceremony for the 10th Annual Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema. The event included a red carpet procession of film celebrities, complete with fans and a pack of paparazzi photographers. Award winners are listed on the festivals website www.IdyllwildCinemaFest.com.
This weekend also included the release of the schedule for Season Two of the Tribute Mania Concert Series at HHT. This will be the ninth season of tribute concerts at HHT, which began in 2016. This season will host four bands from previous seasons, along with four groups making their first appearance in Hemet.
The Season Two Tribute Mania Concert Series schedule will be:
• May 11 – Tribute to Bon Jovi, featuring Wanted
• May 25 – Tribute to The Allman Brothers, featuring Rambin Man
• June 8 – Tribute to Bob Seger, with Turn The Page
• June 22 – Tribute to Santana, with Smooth Sounds of Santana
• July 6 – Tribute to Led Zeppelin, featuring Led Zepagain
• July 20 – Tribute to Aerosmith, featuring Aeromyth
• August 3 – Tribute to REO Speedwagon, with Ridin Out The Storm
• August 17 – Tribute to Tom Petty, featuring Petty & The Heartshakers
Tickets are now available for all shows and are $22 presale and $25 day of show. A limited number of season tickets are available for each show. Season tickets are available with the purchase of tickets to four or more shows in the season. Season tickets are $20 each and include VIP Early Admission, 15 minutes before General Admission. It is expected that the season tickets will sell out within the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, Season One of the Tribute Mania Concert Series continues with Tribute to AC/DC (Saturday 4/23), The Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Tribute (Saturday 4/6), and Tribute to The Doors (Saturday 4/27). In addition, there are 2 Friday concerts coming up, Tribute to George Strait (Friday 3/29) and Tribute to Elvis Presley (Friday 4/12).
Tickets for Tribute Mania and Friday Nite Live shows are $22 presale and $25 day of show. Showtime is 7 p.m., with doors open at 6:15 p.m. Information on all theatre events is available at www.HistoricHemetTheatre.com or by calling the ticket office, (951) 658-5950.