L.A. Philharmonic Executive Director Deborah Borda, singer Josh Groban and diva Patti LuPone play the fame game at Music Matters. Photo by Alex Berliner/BEImages


By Kim Devore/Entertainment Writer

It wasn’t a galaxy far, far away, but it sure seemed that way as the Hollywood Bowl kicked off the summer season with an out-of-this-world opening night fete. The space age shindig started off with a cocktail party on the upper terrace, where attentive aliens greeted a gaggle of unsuspecting earthlings.

Clouds of dry ice billowed at our feet as we sipped exotic, gem-colored libations like the Martian Martini, and nibbled on appetizers shaped like planets. They played appropriate tunes like “Fly Me to the Moon” while performance artists gyrated from pedestals in skin-tight latex space suits.

As the stars came out, we made our way to our boxes where a feast of filet and grilled veggies was being served.

If the theme was far out, the occasion was very down-to-earth. It was all part of the annual Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame gala and fundraiser.

This year’s honorees spanned the musical spectrum, from a legendary rocker to a classical conductor, 1960s comedy kings to Broadway legends.

Roger Daltrey got things off to an electrifying start. The spry 59-year-old singer of The Who delighted the crowd with a few selections from “Tommy,” including “Pinball Wizard,” and yes, he can still swing a mean microphone. It was a high-energy affair that even had conductor John Mauceri feeling groovy and the Bowl musicians rocking in their seats.

For a classical gas, the orchestra led a tribute to the late Leopold Stokowski with Bach’s ever-popular “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.”

And you can’t think about Leopold Stokowski without thinking of -The Smothers Brothers? Adding to the evening’s ultra-eclectic program, Tommy and Dickie took the stage for a Nick at Nite blast-to-the-past.

Two shining stars of Broadway were also inducted into the Hall of Fame: Tony award-winner Nathan Lane accepted the honor via video tape, but diva Patti LuPone graced the stage in person, where the celebrated voice of “Evita” sang up a storm.

The annual event raises thousands of dollars for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Music Matters program, an organization that works to keep the music in local schools.

In keeping with tradition, the evening wrapped up with a bang. The bowl orchestra performed Mussorgsky’s the “Great Gate of Kiev” to a full fireworks spectacular, complete with onion-domed Russian cathedrals. As the glittering display dressed the night sky in a rainbow of color, it was a celestial send-off to another season of magic under the stars.