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Actor Jim Belushi joins in Holly Theatre drive

Actor Jim Belushi has joined the Holly Theatre restoration efforts and will perform a benefit concert with his blues band, the Sacred Hearts, at EdenVale Winery this summer.

Belushi, who is building a house on the former Elks picnic grounds along the Rogue River, was named honorary chairman of the Holly Theatre Restoration Project this week.

His upcoming reality TV show, "Building Belushi," is based on construction of the house and will also highlight the restoration efforts at the Holly. Belushi was the star of "According to Jim," a sitcom that appeared on ABC from 2001 to 2009. He also has been featured on programs such as "Saturday Night Live" and has appeared in about a dozen films. He is the brother of the late John Belushi, one of the original stars of "Saturday Night Live."

Belushi and the crew of his TV show will be participating in Saturday's Pear Blossom Parade in Medford for the theater.

Built in 1930, the 1,000-seat Holly is being restored by Jefferson Live!, which also operates the Cascade Theatre in Redding.

So far, roughly half of the almost $4 million needed for the restoration project has been raised. About $300,000 has been spent restoring the facade and roof beams.

“You can just feel the history in a place like the Holly — all the people that have gone on that stage before you,” Belushi said in a press release. “Beautiful places like this are irreplaceable and the flashpoint of many a community’s revitalization. It is critical to save them.”

Jefferson Live! manages the Holly for the JPR Foundation, which raises money for Jefferson Public Radio.

Randy McKay, executive director of Jefferson Live!, said he got in contact with Belushi through Hammond Construction Co., which had a connection to Belushi because of his renovation work on the river house.

"Hammond wasn't involved directly, but some of the subcontractors they work with were involved," McKay said.

After talking with McKay, Belushi toured the Holly.

"He came and fell in love with the theater," McKay said.

With Belushi's backing, fundraising efforts should pick up significantly, McKay said. He said about 70 percent of the almost $4 million goal will need to be in hand to start the project. 

In the meantime, Jefferson Live! is working on engineering studies and construction drawings to get the Holly ready for major renovation work.

"The good news is that I think major funding should come from Jim Belushi's involvement in the Holly," McKay said.

The Belushi concert will be Aug. 29. Tickets are available at hollytheatre.org or by calling 541-772-3797 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. By this weekend, general admission lawn tickets will be available at EdenVale’s Medford tasting room, at Edenvale’s Enoteca in Ashland, at Terra Firma Home in downtown Medford and at Terra Firma Gift in Jacksonville.

Reserved seats cost $59 and general admission lawn tickets cost $33. Special dinner tickets also are available.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @reporterdm.

Jim Belushi
Jim Belushi and The Sacred Hearts will play in a summer fundraiser to benefit the Holly Theatre renovation in Medford.