OCEAN CITY – Offering year-round, family entertainment, OC Jamboree provides visitors and locals with Ocean City’s only live music theater, a unique experience that aims to entertain all ages and bring families together.
This summer will mark the 10th summer season of fun, family entertainment at OC Jamboree, marking 10 summers of live, music theater in the resort.
The 265-seat art music theater, located in West Ocean City, has been entertaining crowds since Memorial Day weekend 1999 when partners Keith Bunting and Dave Weatherholtz kicked off the first weekend of live entertainment.
“Keith and I were part of a national recording act in the 80’s and 90’s,” explained Weatherholtz.
After spending years traveling and entertaining, the pair decided to anchor at one location.
“After 12 years of doing that, the consensus was to take some time off for awhile,” Weatherholtz said.
After seeing the success of a similar live, music theater in Myrtle Beach, the idea for OC Jamboree was born.
The shows began with a similar pattern as the Myrtle Beach shows, with an emphasis on country music.
“It was primarily a country music show, it had a lot of hee-haw to it,” said Weatherholtz.
After experiencing a few seasons of success with the country-themed shows, Bunting and Weatherholtz decided to tweak their music selections, bringing pop and rock n’ roll into the mix.
From the beginning, Bunting and Weatherholtz have been the creative masterminds behind all of the shows.
“The production, writing, arrangements, you name it – it’s all done in house,” said Weatherholtz.
One thing that has remained constant through the years is the aim to bring people back, to inspire audiences by providing them with a piece of the past.
“It’s a trip down memory lane, it takes a lot of people back,” said Weatherholtz. “People come in not knowing what to expect.”
What they find is family entertainment that can’t be found at home.
“We like to provide our audience with entertainment that you can’t easily find,” Weatherholtz said.
OC Jamboree features three shows throughout the year, changing produtions with the changing seasons.
Swingin’ With The Stars, the winter/spring show, just wrapped up last week, having run from mid-September through May.
“We featured memorable performances from the past 20 to 50 years,” explained Weatherholtz.
By recreating old radio jingles, television theme songs, commercials and so forth, OC Jamboree provides its audience with a trip down memory lane, oftentimes evoking memories from the past that people had long forgotten.
“It really is neat stuff to remember,” he said.
Ticket To Ride, the summer show that will run through the season, is geared toward the summer crowds, providing fun, carefree musical performances that the entire family can enjoy. A mini Beatles tribute will be featured in the show, with a recreation of the Beatles’ famous debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.
The summer show generally appeals to tourists, in town to enjoy a carefree summer vacation, said Weatherholtz.
“It’s light, its silly, anyone from age two to 102 can enjoy it,” he said.
The all ages show usually ends with patriotism, said Weatherholtz, who likes to leave his audience with a message of patriotism as they head home.
At Christmas time, a time when Weatherholtz feels people long to connect with family, memories and the spirit of Christmas, OC Jamboree hosts a Christmas-themed show. Country Christmas Memories runs from the beginning of Winterfest through New Years, infusing audience members with the Christmas spirit.
“People like to feel like Christmas,” said Weatherholtz.
OC Jamboree keeps a broad target audience, aiming to provide something for everyone, from child to grandparent. Although many locals enjoy the entertainment, Weatherholtz noted that the majority of the audience is visitors and families on vacation, looking for a fun night of entertainment that can’t be found just anywhere.