music + entertainment since 1910.
The Shepherdstown Opera House is one of the oldest movie theaters in America, bringing music and entertainment to Shepherdstown since 1910. A unique venue with close proximity to the DC and Baltimore areas.
The Opera House was built in 1909 by U.S. Martin, who served as Shepherdstown's mayor. Within that same year, it was sold to the Musser family who installed one of the earliest motion picture projectors. The Opera House ran nightly, often showing as many as three different films each week. In 1928 the Opera House became the first motion picture theatre in West Virginia with sound, enabling it to show the newfangled "talkies."
The Musser's closed the Opera House in 1956, and it sat dark and silent until it was purchased by Pam and Rusty Berry. After an extensive renovation following the Department of the Interior guidelines for the restoration of historic structures, the Berry's reopened the Opera House in February of 1992 and began showing American independent and foreign films.
In October 2010, Lawrence Cumbo purchased the building and business with a vision to take it to the next level. As a filmmaker, Lawrence wanted to preserve the theater's cinematic tradition, but he knew music had to be another cornerstone of the Opera House culture. Since then, continual light and sound system upgrades, an expanded back stage, and revamped green room has allowed this vision to grow into one of the area's finest music and film venues. In 2012, Cumbo joined forces with the Smithsonian Channel to create the music special 'Rocking the Opera House: Dr. John'.
Not a restaurant or a bar, the Opera House is a state-of-the-art, full-service theater on the National Historic Trust Registry. The theater has a special feel to it, with good vibes throughout, from the original seats to the hardwood dance floor. An amazing sound experience is created from the original parabolic shape and technical capabilities of the room. Artists and audience experience something very special at each show.
Shepherdstown is a well suited home for the Opera House - unique in its own right, with a long, rich history of creativity and the arts. Voted one of the best small towns in America by the NY Times, the oldest town in West Virginia has an active music scene supported by locals, Shepherd University students, and people from the surrounding metro areas.
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FEB 23 / 9 PM THE WOODSHEDDERS W/ HERB & HANSON
"The Woodshedders are an Indie Roots Rock band boasting four all-original studio albums and performances at hundreds of festivals and shows. (They) bring lyricism and musicality to fun, danceable shows that swerve through Honky-Tonk, Gypsy, Appalachian, and Vintage Rock n' Roll, often in the same song." Learn More
American roots duo Herb & Hanson features two songwriters expressing themselves with little more than a guitar, a mandolin and their respective voices. Incorporating the blues styles of both Piedmont and Delta regions...and the Ragtime bounce of America's oldest cities into their songwriting and live shows, this prodigious pair seeks to relay these traditions in a contemporary way for their audience to ruminate.
FEB 24 / 8 PM THE GYPSY RAMBLERS W/ THE OUTPATIENTS
The Gypsy Ramblers, are a five-piece band who play a blend of gypsy, jazz, 'dawg', and blues music. The repertoire is a mix of instrumental and vocal songs, more than half of which is original material written by the band. They will be releasing their newest CD, which was recorded at Opera House Live itself, sharing the stage with The Outpatients.
The Outpatients have been rocking DC/NoVa/Shepherdstown since the early 90's. Original & eclectic cover tunes make a special repertoire of "acoustic mayhem."
MAR 3 / 9PM BETTER OFF DEAD
Better Off Dead is more than a “tribute band.” We come at the music collected and lovingly reimagined by The Grateful Dead and The Jerry Garcia Band with the same sense of discovery, care, and exploration as our heroes. The songs we play—all music associated with the Dead or Garcia in one form or another—come from a beautiful American lineage: blues, country, jazz, rock, and soul. Learn More
MAR 30 / 9PM BROCCOLI SAMURAI W/ FRIENDS
Broccoli Samurai has sculpted a unique blend of their own sound, making something fresh in the scene. The band has been thrilling audiences across the nation, winning them a massive and fiercely loyal fan base, with their synth-laden progressive electronica sound fused with soulful hints of funk and jazz. Eager fans pack dance floors and festival sets, waiting to get lost in the band's ambient soundscapes, anticipating every note that will force them to move with reckless abandon.
APR 11 / 8PM PRISON BOOK CLUB - REUNION TOUR
Prison Book Club is a back-to-basics rock 'n roll band from Shepherdstown, West Virginia. With roots planted in and informed by the distinctly down-and-out characters of songwriting through the ages...Prison Book Club combines a steady range of thoughtful songs, loud-and-proud guitars, and a do-it-your-damn-self ethos. This will be the first show on their reunion and album re-release tour!
APR 21 / 9PM THE LAST REWIND W/ FROM THE VAULT
The Last Rewind is Washington DC's tribute to Phish. The band features an all-star lineup of area musicians who bring precision to Phish's compositions, high energy jamming, and lots of setlist shenanigans. In classic Phish style, the band will perform two sets and an encore.
From The Vault will open the show with a set of early years-Grateful Dead. Come pay tribute to the two titans of the jamband community April 21, all for only $10!
APR 27 / 9PM MAD TEA PARTY PRE-PARTY, LITZ W/ OF TOMORROW
LITZ brings together a wide array of musical influences ranging from funk, jam, go-go, soul, electronica and just about everywhere in-between to amalgamate a new sound for the ears of the world. Their sound strides to sonically transport it's listeners to another planet free of the stress, struggles, and tribulations of modern day life through the use of funky horn riffs, wah-wah keys, pounding bass, driving/progressive rhythms and melt your face guitar. LITZ will be sharing the stage with Of Tomorrow. $12 / Advanced, $15 / Doors.
MAY 11 / 9PM BUMPIN UGLIES
For nearly a decade now, Bumpin Uglies have been playing their brand of groove-heavy jams – a curiously fun mix of ska, Reggae and good ole’ punk rock – all while putting strong lyrics at the forefront of the music. With a wildly infectious sound, tattoo-worthy lyrics and an itch to take their music to the masses, the band piled into the van years ago and have rarely seen home since.
Our first time at the Opera House and we will definitely be back. The sound was amazing - we saw The Larry Keel Experience and if it's possible for ears to smile-it happened last night. I'm pretty sure it happens all the time there. - M.S. 2017
Great little historic venue! I was visiting the area from Southern NJ and caught the Grateful Dead tribute Better Off Dead. Wow! Fantastic night of music! Staff was friendly and sound was great. Nice dance floor to shake your bones as well. - J.H. 2016
I absolutely love it here! Without a doubt the FRIENDLIEST staff around! Whether you want to bring the kids along or leave them at home, this is a great place for all ages. Plenty of floor space to dance as well as ample seating if you need to kick off your dancing shoes. We come here every chance we get. If you haven't checked this place out you need to! I cannot express how awesome this place is. If I could give them a million stars I would! - T.C. 2017
Great, cozy, intimate venue with a terrific sound system and great variety of artists. Reasonable ticket prices and has a dancing area for those who want to get up and move to the music. - C.L. 2017
Probably my favorite small venue to see live music. A sweet little theater in a sweet little town with very good Thai food right across the street. I love the Opera House. - T.W. 2017
Best venue in Shepherdstown. Occasional films & special screenings on the big screen, but the music lineup is really where it's at for this space. From big national acts to the best regional bands, the Opera House is an historic gem and a unique venue for experiencing a live music show. - S.H. 2017
RENT THE HISTORIC SHEPHERDSTOWN OPERA HOUSE FOR YOUR SPECIAL EVENTS! We bring a truly dynamic and unique venue to the table. Perfect for:
PRIVATE FILM SCREENINGS / Q+A
In early 2011 we completed a massive light, sound and visual upgrade including a Presonus StudioLive 24 channel digital mixing board with a DBX spectrum analyzed room EQ. Supporting this we've got a stack of mains and a set of bass bins that can forcibly remove socks from your fans. The room can also be leveraged as a recording studio and a digital visual platform for just about anything. The green room has a full bathroom with shower, wardrobe, large outdoor balcony, and rooms with accommodation capabilities.
Front of House
PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2 digital mixer including full dynamics(gate, compressor, limiter, expander, and parametric eq) on every channel
Graphic EQ on All Monitor Mixes
DBX Drive Rack PA+ Loudspeaker Management System
Four 18" speakers
Four 15" speakers
QSC 2450 and QSC 850 Power Amps
Two JBL Eons in back of House for supplementary fill
Six JBL Eon G2 monitor wedges
Four Separate Monitor Mixes
Shure Beta Series and Original Series Microphones
Other Microphones include Sennheiser Condensers, AKG, Audio Technica
1910 Schumann Full Upright Piano