As the new year begins, the Historic Hemet Theatre looks back on a year of record achievements and challenges… and forward to a bright future as a premier community arts center in the Inland Empire.
In 2021, with the COVID shutdown removing the first half of the year, HHT was still able to host 23 events with over 5500 guests and $150k in event revenue.
The year included a series of special events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Hemet’s historic theatre. In August, HHT hosted the first joint mixer for both valley Chambers of Commerce where City of Hemet Mayor Karlee Meyer presented the Foundation with a Key to the City.
Then in September, the Press Enterprise announced that HHT has become the number one music venue in the entire Inland Empire!
In October, the Hemet Heritage Foundation hosted a 100th Birthday Party with a presentation on the theatre’s history by CEO Susan Carrier and tours of the vintage movie house. November highlighted the history of the valley with a showing of the film “Mr. Whittier’s Hemet” with a Q&A by the cast and crew. Special concerts featuring Queen Nation and Ronstadt Revival filled the holiday season with music. And New Year’s Eve saw the return of the wild antics of “Rocky Horror New Year’s Eve.”
The final event for the 100-year celebration will be next week at the Foundation’s spectacular “Vintage Vegas” Gala when legendary impressionist Rich Little will take the stage, live from Las Vegas! Festivities will include a “Champagne & Chocolate” dessert bar, open wine and beer bar, fun photo booth, prize wheel, raffle prizes, and a Grand Prize Drawing with a top prize of $1000 cash! Tickets for the Gala are $100 general admission and $200 for VIP seating at the foot of the stage.
Fundraising continues for future renovations including handicap seating and restrooms. Also planned is an expansion at the rear of the building to serve as a green room for performers. Most urgent on the list is the old A/C system. One of the system’s four units has failed and will need to be repaired or replaced before summer arrives. COVID-related grants have provided over $250k in funding, but much more is needed to realize the full potential of Hemet’s vintage movie house.
Meanwhile, this week will be the kick-off for Season One of the 2022 Tribute Mania Concert Series. Saturday’s Tribute to The Bee Gees has been sold out for weeks. John Acosta and the rest of the Bee Gees Gold band are anxiously awaiting their return to the HHT spotlight.
On Monday January 10th, the Hemet Heritage Foundation will once again host their monthly meeting at HHT, featuring a presentation by Scott Hudson, a retired Hemet Firefighter and Safety Officer. Hudson served as a member of the Riverside Multi-Agency FEMA Urban Search and Rescue team. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, the team was dispatched to the World Trade Center and served ten days at Ground Zero. His presentation will be, “Eyes of Manhattan on 9/11: The World Trade Center Through the Eyes of a Safety Officer.”
The full roster for Season One of the 2022 Tribute Mania Concert Series includes tributes to The Bee Gees featuring Bee Gees Gold (Jan 8), Prince with Prince Again (Jan 22), Mańa featuring Corazón de Mańa (Feb 5), AC/DC with Bonfire (Feb 19), Marvin Gaye featuring Jackie’s Boy (Mar 5), The Doors with Strange Days (Mar 19), Johnny Cash featuring Neil Morrow (Apr 2) and Van Halen with Fan Halen (Apr 23). Tickets for Tribute Mania events are $25, general admission. Showtime is 7:00 pm, with doors open at 6:15 pm.
Information on all theatre events is available at www.HistoricHemetTheatre.com or by calling the ticket office, (951) 658-5950. You can subscribe to the HHT email blast by enrolling on the website.
Emily Rand | Contributed
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