Diverse Programming Highlights Hollywood Bowl's 100th Anniversary

by Kevin Taft

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday June 8, 2022

The Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl  (Source:The Hollywood Bowl)

Red-lipped gay icon Gwen Stefani opened the 100th season of the Hollywood Bowl this week (fitting for the start to Pride month). Joined by the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, Branford Marsalis, the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, and the UCLA Bruin Marching Band, it was a fitting commencement to the landmark's centennial celebration.

As usual, the Bowl's summer schedule offers diversity. From movie soundtracks to pop stars to legendary performers, the Bowl isn't just a classical music venue, although there's plenty of that this summer as well!

Some of the more notable celebrations are the Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom, featuring a lineup that includes Earth, Wind & Fire, The Roots, Debbie Allen's Dance Academy, Billy Porter, and more. There's also the yearly two-day Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival featuring different performers every day like Femi Kuti & the Positive Force, Tower of Power, Carmen Lundy, Fantastic Negrito, and more.

Movies also hold a special place at the Bowl, with live music to film presentations of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1," Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story," "Amadeus," "Back to the Future," and a night called Black Movie Soundtrack IV. Of course, no summer is complete without "The Sound of Music" singalong, and composer John Williams ("Star Wars") returning for his annual Labor Day appearance with the three-night "Maestro of the Movies," probably the most special event of every year.

Concerts by a variety of pop stars old and new are scheduled to appear, including Ricky Martin with the LA Phil, Loggins & Messina, Boys II Men, John Fogerty, a-Ha with Orchestra, Sheryl Crow, The Gypsy Kings, the legendary Diana Ross, and the popular '80s Brit band Duran Duran.

Classical Music still reigns with a variety of themed nights, including the return of the Tchaikovsky Spectacular (with fireworks) with violinist Joshua Bell, a night of two of Beethoven's Fifths (Symphony and Piano Concerto), the Paris Opera Ballet with Gustavo Dudamel conducting, and an evening of The Valkyries with a performance of the third act of Wagner's "Die Walkure."

If that isn't enough, the Bowl's July 4th weekend spectacular features the annual July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, this year with prolific comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short. The Bowl's annual Broadway production will be "Kinky Boots" starring Wayne Brady as Lola, Jake Shears ("Scissor Sisters") as Charlie, and Kelly Marie Tran (the "Star Wars" sequels) as Lauren.

Lastly, there are special tributes to Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra that will include performances from the likes of Billie Eilish, Debbie Harry, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Seth MacFarlane, and more.

All in all, this looks to be a packed summer of music, icons, and fun under the stars. Bring a packed dinner, a bottle of wine, or order from one of the many vendors located within the Bowl and you are set for a special night out in the City of Lights.

For a schedule of events and for tickets, visit www.hollywoodbowl.com.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.