Da Hollywood Bowl '01
by Carin P. Webb firstname.lastname@example.org http://webbsight.domainvalet.com
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A rite of spring for me is to order my annual Hollywood Bowl tickets-- usually to the tune of about a thousand bucks worth. I'm always hopeful that I'll have at least one thing I'm interested in available to me in the form of box seats, but for the most part I get stuck in the peanut gallery where seat cushions are a prerequisite. Bowl tickets, to this day can still be obtained for a measly one dollar apiece, but I like to sit where the sound doesn't take so long to reach me and binoculars are an option.
Of course for the regular season, all of the box seats have been sold out for decades and passed down from generation to generation, so I just take my chances at the individual concerts offered outside the regular season's activities.
Going to The Bowl for an evening of good music with food and wine under the stars is akin to taking a mini-vacation, a vacation you need to properly pack for, 'tis true. Of course, you can buy your dinner and spirits on the spot, but you're going to save yourself a significant amount of money by bringing your own White Star or Korbell Champagne to accompany your Thai food, KFC or whatever, not to mention not having to stand in lines.
This summer's season had a few things that piqued my interest, perhaps they'll interest you, as well. To kick off the season on Friday, June 29, they will present their second annual Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame Gala, where Marilyn Horne, Stevie Wonder, Monty Python, and Bonnie and John Raitt will be honored.
On Saturday, June 30, (an L.A. premiere, no less) they are going to show on their gigantic screen, a sing-along "The Sound of Music" or basically a "Rocky Horror Picture Show" not on hallucinogens. This gem of an idea to have audience participation while enjoying "The Sound of Music" was started in England and, as with "Rocky Horror," the audience members are encouraged to come in costume dressed as their favorite character from the movie and can enter the costume contest.
For me, it only makes sense to come dressed as Marni Nixon, one of the nuns featured in "How do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" Many movie buffs can tell you that Nixon dubbed in the singing voices in some of the most beloved American movie musicals. She dubbed Deborah Kerr's voice in "The King and I," Natalie Woods' voice in "West Side Story" and Audrey Hepburn's voice in "My Fair Lady," all without being given any screen credit.
Also, rumor has it that she may have given Peggy Wood (Mother Superior) a little assistance on the last high notes of "Climb Every Mountain." But my point is, if you come to the sing-along dressed as Marni Nixon, wouldn't that give you license to sing all of the other parts as well as your own? If a sing-along "Sound of Music" can be successful, can a sing-along "Fiddler on the Roof" or "Music Man" be far behind? Man, I'm there. For this event the Hollywood Bowl will be giving out to attendees a "Fan Pack" which will include Edelweiss.
Nixon will be appearing at the Hollywood Bowl on September 14-16, along with Billy Gilman and Nell Carter (as well as fireworks) to celebrate John Mauceri's first ten years as the Hollywood Bowl orchestra's conductor.
On Sunday, July 8, maestro Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl orchestra with the Pacific Chorale will present a lavish concert version of one of my favorite Verdi operas, "Aïda" (you can pretty much keep your Elton John version, as far as I'm concerned.) Singing along will probably be frowned upon for this event, but you can bet I'll be singing "Celeste Aïda" and "Ritorna vincitor!" to myself inside my head. Perhaps if I were sitting way in the back with no one in front of me I could get away with singing along, but where our seats are located, I know I'd get shushed.
Natalie Cole will be appearing July 7 with the L.A. Philharmonic. John Williams will be conducting The Phil performing his film music July 13-14. Charlotte Church will be appearing the following weekend with the Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band on July 20-21. Patti LuPone will perform her new concert, "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" (songs from Broadway musicals she could have, should have, did and will play) with The Phil on August 3-4.
On Sunday, August 5, the Hollywood Bowl will offer a staged concert adaptation of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's "Show Boat." Last year at The Bowl we saw a concert version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel" that was a true delight. It was completely staged, costumed, blocked and choreographed AND they built a set. So this "Show Boat" ought to be fantastic if they do even half as good a job.
Ray Charles will perform with The Phil on August 24-25 after a five year absence. On Sunday, August 26, John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl orchestra, along with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation, will present "Don't Touch that Dial -- It's TV Night at the Bowl." It will be a spectacular night of music, clips and surprise performances from over 50 years of television, as they help kick off Emmy week celebrations in this first-of-a-kind event to include a tribute to the cherished Hallmark "Hall of Fame" broadcasts.
Pete Fountain and his New Orleans Jazz Band along with The Phil will present, "Hot Nights in New Orleans" with Dr. John on September 7-8.
Then on Friday, September 21, John Mauceri et al will present their celebrated
"Movie Night." This is the one concert of the season I always look forward
to with anticipation, and wouldn't miss for much in the world. This year they
promise a sci-fi journey featuring a celebration of Stanley Kubrick's classic, "2001:
A Space Odyssey," as well as a tribute to "Star
Trek," "Planet of the Apes," "Star Wars" and much more.
Of course just about every other weekend they offer a fireworks spectacular and, if you've never enjoyed fireworks timed to the music at The Bowl, then you have truly missed an unforgettable evening.
If it has been a long time since you've gone to The Bowl, I would reassure you that the bathroom situation has been MUCH improved over the last few years and the ladies no longer have to spend the entire intermission and then some standing in line to use the toilets.
The best way to get to the Hollywood Bowl is to use their Bowl Bus shuttle service. There are four lots, A and B are at 10801 & 10601 Ventura Blvd. (near Universal City), C is at 1626 N. La Brea Ave. (near Hollywood and Sunset), and D is at 3400 Cahuenga Blvd (Griffith Park Zoo parking lot). The cost is a mere $3 for a round trip.
If these lots are not handy (and they are not to me), there are Park & Ride lots in 15 locations throughout the southland for $5 round trip. They encourage you to purchase your bus tickets in advance for the Park & Ride (so they know ahead of time how big a bus they need), and tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster for an additional service charge. If you're stuck buying from Ticketmaster at the last minute, only purchase a one-way, because going home they sell tickets at the bottom of the hill without the service charge.
The best part about taking the bus, is that they transport you up the hill and drop you off near the top. If you're hauling a half a case of champagne, this is certainly a plus. Also, if you take one of the Park & Rides, you can sleep off your celebrating on the bus before you have to make it the rest of the way home.
And isn't it funny how classical music lovers are allowed to get smashed off of their asses at The Bowl (if they so desire), and yet the powers that be would NEVER dream of allowing people into a sporting venue or rap event (notice I did not say, "concert") carrying thick, heavy glass bottles, let alone alcohol? There's something to be said for music that soothes the heart. (If only more people would listen to Mozart while driving.)
And yes, on your way down the hill back to your car or bus you can expect to pass the Jesus freak with a bullhorn, the guy with his nose in a book and a dog hand-puppet who appears to be making tunes up as he goes along as he "sings" what sounds like scriptures (and at the same time doing a lousy job of ventriloquism), and also the saxophone player at the mouth of the pedestrian tunnel. Just all part of the tapestry that makes up Hollywood Bowl tradition, you see.
Of course I've only mentioned a fraction of the concerts in this season's Hollywood Bowl offerings. I mean, I haven't even touched on their mid-week concerts which range from Beethoven and Vivaldi to jazz, and blues. For complete information regarding The Hollywood Bowl, go to their informative Webb Sight at www.hollywoodbowl.com.
Editor's note: If you happen to be fortunate enough to sit near Carin during "The Sound of Music," you will find out that she not only has good taste and can make you laugh, she's a pretty darn great singer too!