For the LA Phil, it’s summertime and the living is… spellbinding

Gustavo Dudamel has Malibu music lovers “bowled” over. Photo courtesy LA Philharmonic.

Malibu music fans and LA Phil sponsors are gearing up for a mega season at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Phil’s summer home is marking an incredible milestone as the landmark open air amphitheater celebrates its 100th year. Not only with superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel’s return to the stage, but an A-list lineup which has boomers in seventh heaven.

The program is not only filled with 10 glorious evenings under the stars with “The Dude” and the LA Philharmonic, but also features classic contemporary acts like Duran Duran (“Rio”), Rod Stewart (“Maggie May”), Cheap Trick (“I Want you to Want Me”) and Sheryl Crow (“Leaving Las Vegas”).

The popular July 4th fireworks spectacular will kick off with Steve Martin and Martin Short as Thomas Wilkins takes the podium. How cool is that? 

“There is truly no place like the Hollywood Bowl. Nothing can compare to the feeling of performing there on a summer night,” Gustavo said. “Our sound seems to pour out from the hills to thousands of music lovers spread before us gathered from everywhere in Los Angeles and around the world. We dedicate our programs in this 100th season to all the people who have made the Hollywood Bowl part of their lives, year after year, and to a new generation on our stage and in our audience, that is going to carry the magic of this place far into the future.”

Opening night features “Hollaback Girl” Gwen Stefani. Gustavo and the LA Phil will begin the evening with the world premiere of a fanfare by legendary composer John Williams. It will commemorate the Bowl’s centennial, followed by music that pays homage to the venue’s history with Broadway, symphonic classics and dance. The program also includes an appearance by famous Italian ballet star Roberto Bolle and musicians from YOLA as well as the first-ever joint performance by both the USC and UCLA marching bands. 

Plus, you will enjoy music by jazz great Branford Marsalis, talented dance trio “Let It Happen,” and a sky full of fireworks.

As the spectacular season gets underway, guest artists on the historic lineup include, Ricky Martin (“Livin’ la Vida Loca”), Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina (“Your Mamma Don’t Dance”), supreme local Diana Ross (“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”), plus Boyz II Men, John Fogerty, Grace Jones, and the Italian phenom Andrea Bocelli, whose majestic voice is sure to make you swoon in the Bowl’s most serene surroundings. 

As for films at the Bowl, the iconic venue offers “Back to the Future,” “Amadeus,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” and the local favorite, the “Sound of Music Sing-A-Long.” The movie classic stars longtime Malibu resident Julie Andrews.

Movie buffs can also feast their eyes and ears on “Kinky Boots” and “Maestro of the Movies: Celebrating John Williams at 90.” 

“Boots,” the hit Broadway musical, will be fully staged.

The Tchaikovsky Spectacular in August will feature the beloved “1812 Overture” complete with a dazzling lightworks display. The evening will include a performance by superstar violinist Joshua Bell. 

The Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival can be heard in late June with the world’s top jazz acts making sure you don’t miss the soul train. You can honestly say there is something for everyone at the Bowl on this historic occasion.

As a 6-year-old, I would go with my parents to see mega acts like the Fab Four in our box (before there was a pool) and my Dad made suits for the Beatles. The boxes were a bit bigger in those days and we came with a valet and candelabra. 

Some 30 years later, I would meet my husband, who I discovered was a teenage usher during the same seasons. 

Like many fans the world over, I grew up at the Bowl. There are also some classic nights for $1 tickets as well as a limited edition book and a great vinyl box set.  

I wish I could attend every night of this remarkable lineup and encourage you, dear music lovers, to make it a part of your summer too.

As top execs David C. Bohnett and Chad Smith said in a joint statement, “The Hollywood Bowl is much more than the summer home of the LA Philharmonic. For a hundred years, its has been a testament to live music’s power to create community, uniting people from all walks of life in a shared experience like no other. Our centennial season will celebrate the Hollywood Bowl’s enduring spirit and everything this magical place has meant to generations.” 

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