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Pink Martini And The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Bring Songs And Surprises To A Sold Out Show: Slideshow

Kaitlin Parker |
September 12, 2010 | 9:03 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Pink Martini, the world-music band from Portland, Ore, played a sold-out, firework-filled Hollywood Bowl show Saturday night with the satisfying panache that’s earned them international acclaim.

The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra joined and a unique array of guests joined the band.  It’s not every day you see Rufus Wainwright, Ari Shapiro, and the original cast of Sesame Street share a marquee. 

Thomas Wilkins, conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra opened the show, announcing that the theme of night was friendship.  True to his word, friends old and new of Pink Martini and the Hollywood Bowl found their way onto the stage as the night progressed.  

From the first crystal clear note of “Amado Mio” through other favorites in Pink Martini’s catalogue, lead singer China Forbes dazzled.  Forbes and bandleader and pianist Thomas Lauderdale share a contagious chemistry on stage, bantering with ease between songs.

Lauderdale described “And Then You’re Gone,” a song from their newest album about a woman at her wit’s end with a man who just won’t stay put, as, “ ‘Hit the Road, Jack,’ meets Franz Schubert meets Gloria Gaynor in 1952 Havana.”

The counterpoint song, aptly named “But Now I’m Back,” featured a guest appearance by NPR White House correspondent, Ari Shapiro.  While Shapiro sang with the band last year at the Bowl as well, this was his first time singing with the full Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  

The special star turns continued as Rufus Wainwright, a veteran of both popular and classical music sang the final aria from his opera Prima Donna.  Wainwright and Forbes also sang a duet of “Happy Days are Here Again” and “Get Happy” based on a Barbara Streisand and Judy Garland piece.  Forbes sang Streisand’s part and Wainwright beautifully took on Garland.  The duet was a highlight of the evening.

An impossibly young-looking 81-year-old Jane Powell sang several songs from her days in MGM movies, and in another wave of nostalgia, the original live cast of Sesame Street joined the band for a final medley of tunes.  

As the improbable combination of guests all made their way back on stage, squeezing in amongst the orchestra, the Sesame Street singers reminded the the crowd that when Pink Martini comes to town, THESE are the people in your neighborhood: pop superstars, screen icons, radio mavens, and 18,000 audience members—a grouping that’s part big-time, part home-grown, and maybe not such an unlikely mixture after all…at least in Hollywood.


To reach reporter Kaitlin Parker, click here.



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