Hollywood Bowl Kicks Off 90th Summer Season
The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra season kicked off Friday with a star-studded show honoring this year’s Hall of Fame inductees, Harry Connick Jr., and Gloria Estefan.
Under the direction of guest conductor Thomas Wilkins, the concert opened with the Star Spangled Banner, followed by an overture, “Colas Breugnon” by Russian composer Dmitry Kabalevsky.
The piece was immediately followed by an introduction by Dame Helen Mirren, whose calm glamour segued into an acrobatic preview of “Iris: A Journey Through the World of Cinema,” the first public peek at the newest Cirque du Soleil show, set to open at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood on July 21st.
The Orchestra accompanied the variegated caterpillar tumblers, with a score written by film composer Danny Elfman, who was present at the Bowl and allowed to take a bow at the end of the act along with the performers.
Having sufficiently revved up the audience, which filled the Bowl all the way to the farthest lawn seats, the performance then turned its focus to the Hall of Fame inductees, beginning with Hillary Swank’s enthusiastic introduction of her co star from “PS: I Love You,” Harry Connick Jr., as well as a brief documentary bringing the audience up to date on the jazz musician’s impressive musical and entertainment history.
Connick then entertained the audience with a 40 minute set that included jazz standards “Just the Way You Look Tonight,” classic Beatles “And I Love Her,” his film claim to fame from “When Harry Met Sally” “It Had to Be You,” before crescendoing into Connick’s beloved New Orleans swing such as, “Go to the Mardi Gras.”
After a brief intermission, the extravaganza reopened, this time with a performance of James L. Hosay’s “Heaven’s Valley” by the West Adams Preparatory High School Orchestra. In addition to honoring Hall of Fame inductees, the night was dedicated to raising funds for youth musical education in Los Angeles, particularly LA Philharmonic conductor Gustav Dudamel’s initiative, the Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA).
Actor/producer Andy Garcia then introduced his longtime friend and fellow Miamian, Gloria Estefan, including another short documentary covering Estefan’s early struggles to define her Cuban/American crossover sound, her charity work in response to Hurricane Andrew, and her marriage to Emilio Estefan.
Where Connick had warmed his audience slowly, Estefan launched into a high energy set starting with her early 90’s hit “Get On Your Feet,” and sustaining the enthusiasm through her inspirational 1996 Olympic Games anthem “Reach,” even bringing Garcia up on stage to play percussion to her iconic showstopper “Conga.” Estefan is the first Latina American accepted into the Hall of Fame.
Both Connick and Estefan then took the stage, for a touching duet on “Come Rain or Come Shine,” in which Estefan finally managed to get Connick to break his intense moue and smile.
No Hollywood Bowl concert would be complete without an uplifting reprise of its hottest song (in this case “Conga”) and a stream of fireworks to launch its 90th Summer Season into what is certain to be an exciting ride.
For more information on Hollywood Bowl performances, visit http://www.hollywoodbowl.com
Reach Whitney Bratton here.