Malibu Seen


From the Los Angeles Opera’s three-day bash to the L.A. Philharmonic’s glamorous gala, the music and theater season is filled with starry nights. But one of the most dazzling dos is set to take place at the Mark Taper Forum on Sept. 13. That’s when the city’s longtime cultural institution will unveil its new $30 million face lift with a splashy opening night celebration.

The evening promises to be a hoot with zany Dame Edna at the helm. With her lilac-colored wig and rhinestone-studded bat glasses, the flamboyant, self-described “giga star” bills herself as “possibly the most entertaining person alive.”

Edna, who in real life is Australian comic Barry Humphries, is looking forward to headlining the historic occasion. “I have invited all my glittering Hollywood friends to the social event of the decade,” she said. “They can’t wait to descend on the new Mark Taper Forum for a naughty night of singing, dancing, fireworks and tankards of scrumptious Gallo wine. But the highlight of the night, apart from the valet parking, will of course be me!”

Modesty aside, Edna is sure to make you laugh out loud. She plans to cover red carpet arrivals of her own party, which will feature a VIP cocktail reception, gourmet dinner and a sneak preview of the new Taper’s first production, a revival of John Guare’s classic “The House of Blue Leaves.”

Nicholas Martin directs the production, which features Jane Kaczmarek of “Malcolm in the Middle” fame, “Mad About You’s” John Pankow and “Grey’s Anatomy” guest star Kate Burton.


The Taper is operated by the Center Theater Group, which also runs The Ahmanson at the Music Center and The Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City. The 739-seat facility opened in 1967 and has become one of the city’s best-known venues.

The landmark building retains its unique circular architecture as well as its intimate seating plan. The iconic neo-classic exterior, which was designed by Welton Becket, has been completely restored. State of the art upgrades have been made to the theater’s lighting and sound systems. The once cozy lobby has doubled in size, offering a better backdrop for Tony Duquette’s one-of-a-kind abalone shell mosaic.

Between Edna’s purple hair, the program’s blue leaves and a glitzy look at the Taper, this A-list evening should be colorful indeed.


Malibu’s Roma Downey and Mark Burnett are gearing up for a big night of their own. They’ll be hosting the seventh annual Operation Smile Gala on Sept. 18th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Roma and Mark are longtime supporters of the organization, which travels around the world helping children born with facial deformities. Since 1982, Operation Smile has successfully treated more than 100,000 children, making the world a happier place one smile at a time.

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