Rich Little as W.C. Fields / Courtesy Photos of HHT

Emily Rand | Contributed

It was a night that this valley will be talking about for many years to come.

On Saturday January 15th, legendary impressionist Rich Little took the stage at the Historic Hemet Theatre – and gave local fans a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

At age 82, Little was every bit as entertaining as ever, sparking a mixture of cheers and howls of laughter from the crowd for 75 minutes straight… and two standing ovations.

Little’s show was a combination of video clips from a lifetime of TV appearances and a hilarious display of impressions against a backdrop of Little’s charcoal drawings of celebrities through the years.

While the crowd was smaller than expected (likely the result of the recent increase in COVID), the fans on hand were clearly having the time of their lives, watching the comedic master live on stage in their own hometown.

Festivities for the evening began in the lobby with fun photos, a prize wheel and an impressive collection of raffle prizes.

The “Champagne and Chocolates” dessert bar included chocolate-dipped strawberries and brownie dice as well as sugar cookies decorated with the theatre’s logo supplied by Harvard Street Bakery. Dozens of residents and businesses sponsored the event, including Canyon Motorhomes that donated the use of a luxury RV for use as a green room at the back of the theatre. Cagliero Nursery provided palm trees for the stage décor, while the Hemet Library provided chairs for the VIP seating at the foot of the stage.

Local celebrity Jerome Robinson served as Master of Ceremonies, adding his own special humor to the festivities. Hemet Major Malcom Lilienthal was on hand to pull the winning numbers for the grand prize drawing, which included a framed copy of Rich Little’s self portrait in charcoal along, a set of 10 gift certificates for Tribute Mania events and a final Grand Prize of $1000 cash.

The event was the finale in a series of special events for the 100-year anniversary of Hemet’s vintage movie house. “The Gala Committee set out to create an over-the-top experience unlike any the valley has ever seen,” commented CEO Susan Carrier. “In just 8 years, the volunteers of this Foundation have transformed a leaky, rundown old movie house into the #1 music venue in the Inland Empire. This evening is a celebration of that achievement.”

This weekend, Season One of the 2022 Tribute Mania Concert Series continues with tributes to 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 or by calling the ticket office, (951) 658-5950. You can subscribe to the HHT email blast by enrolling on the website.

Find your latest news here at the Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle


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