There’s a lot on the Mauch Chunk Opera House May schedule for just about any taste. A true downtown theater that seats 400 people comfortably, it is just a short stroll from Jim Thorpe’s lively restaurants and pubs.
The month starts with Unforgettable Fire on Saturday, May 1, a spot-on U2 tribute band from New Jersey, accompanied by a dynamic lightshow produced by Groovin’ Lumens, of Rochester, New York. Bono look-alike and lead singer Tony Russo’s vocal chops are no act – it is as if he was born not only with Bono’s looks, but his pipes. The band knows nearly a hundred U2 tunes fluently, and effortlessly performs selections from all of their creative periods.
Co-Op Bop appears at the Opera House on Saturday May 8. A super-tight jazz quintet, Bop comprises five world-class players who have performed with jazz beacons like Maynard Ferguson, Larry Coryell, Randy Brecker, and Vic Juris. Alan Gaumer (horns), Craig Kastelnik (keys), Tom Kosik (guitar), Nelson Hill (sax) and Gary Rissmiller on drums round out the band, generating electricity and laying down high-octane jazz.
The Jim Thorpe Birthday Weekend features two shows at the Opera House, beginning with the rock and acoustic legend Jorma Kaukonen, performing with mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff, on Friday, May 14. True rock royalty, Jorma co-founded Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, and helped redefine the fingerstyle guitar genre. Opening will be the Lehigh Valley guitar mainstay, Craig Thatcher. Then on May 15, Philadelphia-based Hoots & Hellmouth takes the stage by storm, a non-stop exercise in acoustic motion and energy that has been earning raves from the music and mainstream press including the Washington Post and New York Times.
Native American 7-time Grammy winner Bill Miller headlines on May 22, ably supported by pianist Josh Rouse. Of Mohican heritage, he was born on the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation in northern Wisconsin. He received his big break when Tori Amos heard his music and asked him to tour with her. He went on to appear with diverse musicians such as Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, The BoDeans, Richie Havens, and Arlo Guthrie and wrote songs with artists such as Nanci Griffith, Peter Rowan and Kim Carnes. Bill Miller is truly an American original whose music is particularly suited the Opera House’s warm acoustics.
On May 28, the singer-songwriter-entertainer Livingston Taylor brings his remarkable talents and skills to the stage, performing on guitar and on the Opera House 1898 Chickering 9-foot grand piano. A professor at Boston’s Berklee School of Music, Taylor is capable of bringing the audience to its feet or to tears depending on the genre he explores at any given time. From top-forty hits “I Will Be in Love with You” and “I’ll Come Running,” to “I Can Dream of You” and “Boatman” (both recorded by his iconic brother James Taylor), Livingston’s creative output has continued unabated.
To contact the Opera House, call the ticket office at (570) 325-0249 or easily select your seats online at http://www.MauchChunkOperaHouse.com.