Fittingly held on the first day of summer, the Hollywood Bowl introduced its 93rd season with the 15th Annual Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and Opening Night Concert on Saturday night.
This year’s star-studded lineup included: the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame inductees – Emmy and Tony-winner Kristin Chenoweth, iconic all-female band The Go-Go’s and eclectic band Pink Martini; presenters – Oscar and Emmy winner Helen Hunt, Grammy-nominated singer Natasha Bedingfield, Hollywood icon Barbara Eden, actress/comedienne Carol Burnett, and Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson; and a special guest appearance by Lea Michele.
Video montages were shown on the Bowl’s LED screens prior to each of the inductees’ performances, paying tribute to their careers.
The annual kick-off to the Bowl season also featured the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (HBO), led by its dynamic Principal Conductor Thomas Wilkins, as well as a performance by Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA).
The Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl benefit concert raised more than $1 million for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s many education and community programs, which serve more than 150,000 youth, families and teachers every year.
The special evening began with Wilkins leading the HBO in the National Anthem. Following remarks from Wilkins, the orchestra launched into Elmer Bernstein’s Fanfare for the Hollywood Bowl. The piece was written 10 years ago in honor of the dramatic new Bowl shell, which was unveiled during the 2004 Opening Night. A brief fireworks display and a video montage of the various shells over the years accompanied the performance.
Actress Taraji P. Henson then took the stage to welcome the Opening Night audience and begin the Hall of Fame ceremonies with an introduction of Barbara Eden to induct Pink Martini. Eden, whom the band has long admired, spoke briefly of Pink Martini’s history before the audience was treated to a video highlighting the band’s varied performances over the years.
Pink Martini – Thomas Lauderdale, piano; China Forbes, vocals; Nicholas Crosa, violin; Timothy Nishimoto, vocals and percussion; Phil Baker, bass; Dan Faehnle, guitar; Anthony Jones, Brian Davis and Derek Rieth, percussion; Gavin Bondy, trumpet; Robert Taylor, trombone; and Maureen Love, harp – appeared on stage, and along with the HBO and Wilkins, performed “Amado Mio,” from the band’s first full-length album, Sympathique.
Following their acceptance speech, Pink Martini resumed their set, along with the HBO and Wilkins, with some of their most popular tunes – “Sympathique,” and “¿Donde estás, Yolanda?” both from the Sympathique album. They then performed a mash-up of “Get Happy”/”Happy Days Are Here Again,” and concluded with their “Brazil,” also from Sympathique.
The audience turned their attention back to the Bowl’s screens to enjoy the video, “Miss Piggy at the Museum,” a comedic tour of the Hollywood Bowl Museum presented by the famous Muppet.
The induction ceremony paused briefly with a moment in the audience to introduce the event’s chairs: Opening Night Committee Co-Chairs Teena Hostovich and Doug Martinet, and Sponsorship Chairs Jonathan Weedman and Raymundo Baltazar – acknowledged by Classical KUSC’s Rich Capparela, the voice of the Hall of Fame concerts for all 15 seasons.
The attention returned to the stage with the introduction of actress Helen Hunt to present the tribute to the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s YOLA (Youth Orchestra L.A.).
Through YOLA, the LA Phil and its community partners that share in the program’s managerial and fiscal responsibilities provide students ages 6 to 17 from underserved neighborhoods free instruments, intensive music training and academic support. Following a video of YOLA highlights through the lens of the program’s first graduating class – high school seniors who have been in the program since 2007, Marcela Rodriguez, Abdiel Lopez, Rodas Hailu and Isaac Green – the four joined Hunt on stage to be acknowledged.
The YOLA tribute continued with the presentation of the Dale E. Kern YOLA Citizenship Award to this year’s recipient, Marcela Rodriguez. The $10,000 award to support college expenses was made possible through a legacy gift from Dale E. Kern to support the LA Phil’s YOLA program, and recognizes an exceptional graduating senior each year for their achievement as a leader, artist and citizen in their community.
Rodriguez, who was born in El Salvador and raised in South Los Angeles, has been a part of YOLA for eight years. Per Rodriguez, “Through my love of the violin, I gained the confidence I needed to get through school and life and learned to not let where I came from define what I’m capable of accomplishing.” To further the ideals of YOLA, over the course of her college career Rodriguez plans to start and nurture a music program for dyslexic students in a school near her college.
Following her acceptance of the award, Rodriguez and her fellow graduating seniors joined other advanced YOLA orchestra members from the program’s two locations – YOLA at EXPO and YOLA at HOLA – to perform an abridged version of Arturo Márquez’ Danzón No. 2 under the direction of Thomas Wilkins.
After intermission, the Hall of Fame and Opening Night Concert resumed with an HBO performance of Prokofiev’s March in B-flat, Op. 99, led by Wilkins.
Jokingly noting that the HBO easily transitions from Prokofiev to “We Got the Beat,” Wilkins introduced singer Natasha Bedingfield, there to induct The Go-Go’s. Following a video tribute, The Go-Go’s – Belinda Carlisle, vocals; Jane Wiedlin, guitar; Charlotte Caffey, guitar, keyboard, piano; Gina Schock, drums; and Abby Travis, bass; along with the orchestra and Wilkins, launched into the band’s famous and timely for the first day of summer “Vacation.”
The catchy tune was accompanied by a laser show that delighted the audience. The band, with the HBO and Wilkins, continued their set with the opener from their debut album Beauty and the Beat, “Our Lips Are Sealed,” followed by “Head Over Heels.” Following their acceptance speech The Go-Go’s, HBO and Wilkins were joined by the USC Drumline for a rousing performance of “We Got The Beat.”
For the final induction of the evening, the HBO launched into the famous “Carol Burnett Theme” as the legendary actress/comedienne walked onto the stage to induct Kristin Chenoweth.
Burnett saw Chenoweth perform in Wicked and Promises, Promises, and Chenoweth hosted last summer’s “An Evening with Carol Burnett” at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Following the video tribute to Chenoweth, the Emmy and Tony winner, along with pianist Ben Toth, the HBO and Wilkins performed “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady. They continued with “Popular,” from the musical Wicked in which Chenoweth earned a Tony nomination for her role of Glinda.
Following her acceptance speech, Chenoweth, the HBO and Wilkins were joined by actress/singer Lea Michele for another Wicked selection, “For Good.” Chenoweth, the HBO and Wilkins continued with “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from Phantom of the Opera. Guitarist Justin Smith joined as they ended the segment with a touching rendition of “I Will Always Love You,” composed by Chenoweth’s idol, Dolly Parton.
The Hollywood Bowl Opening Night Concert concluded with all of the newly-inducted members of the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame – Chenoweth, Pink Martini’s China Forbes and Thomas Lauderdale and The Go-Go’s – on stage performing “I Got Rhythm” accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display and laser show.
A number of film and television personalities, as well as elected and other civic officials, were on hand to enjoy the benefit concert, including producer and screenwriter Mike de Luca, Jay Ferguson of “Mad Men,” Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kathy Griffin, Nigel Lythgoe, Jersey Boys’ songwriter, Denny Randell, Cybill Shepherd, Dita Von Teese, Patina master chef Joachim Splichal, County Supervisors Gloria Molina, Don Knabe, County CEO Bill T. Fujioka, and County Department of Parks and Recreation Director Russ Guiney, Los Angeles Philharmonic Board Chairman Diane B. Paul, and Los Angeles Philharmonic President Deborah Borda.
Established in 2000, the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame identifies and pays tribute to artists whose unique achievements embody the spirit of the world-renowned Hollywood Bowl. The Hall of Fame is now part of an exhibit on the main floor of the Hollywood Bowl Museum that includes photos and film of inductees over the years.
Kristin Chenoweth, The Go-Go’s and Pink Martini join the distinguished company of artists – John Williams, Garth Brooks, Marilyn Horne, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, John Raitt, Monty Python, Kathleen Battle, Randy Newman, Bernadette Peters, Leopold Stokowski, George Harrison, the Smothers Brothers, Roger Daltrey, Patti LuPone, Nathan Lane, Henry Mancini, Sarah Chang, Brian Wilson, Trisha Yearwood, Joshua Bell, Frank Sinatra, Carlos Santana, André Watts, Plácido Domingo, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Founding Director John Mauceri, Liza Minnelli, Sir James Galway, B.B. King, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Josh Groban, Donna Summer, the Carpenters, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Harry Connick, Jr., Gloria Estefan, Chaka Khan and Reba, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Patti Austin and John Legend – previously inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. Drawn from the diverse arena of musical entertainment, including classical, pop, jazz, musical theater, and film composition, new Hall of Fame honorees receive their tributes as part of the Bowl’s annual opening night celebration.
The Opening Night Hall of Fame Concrt is chaired by Gala Chairs Teena Hostovich and Doug Martinet and Sponsorship Chairs Jonathan Weedman and Raymundo Baltazar.
The “Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame” was conceived on behalf of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association by Wayne Baruch and Charles F. Gayton, who have created and produced all of the Hall of Fame opening concerts.
One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and plays host to the finest artists from all genres of music. It remains one of the best deals anywhere in Los Angeles; to this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many classical and jazz offerings.
The venue offers something for everyone, from its sizzling summer evening concerts to the daytime arts festival for children, “SummerSounds: World Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl,” now in its 47th season.
In February 2014, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the tenth year in a row at the 25th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards. For millions of music lovers across Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl is synonymous with summer.
For more information, visit http://www.HollywoodBowl.com.