Bowled Over in Hollywood
Many of us LGBT folks living in the greater L.A. area wait with bated breath for the announcement of each summer’s line up of big-name entertainers at the Hollywood Bowl. Last year’s "gay gasp" highlight was Liza Minnelli, and the previous summer’s was Dolly Parton, making her first-time Bowl appearance.
Several stars will be vying for our community’s attention this year, but the arguable standout is Kristin Chenoweth in her Hollywood Bowl debut. Chenoweth has proven herself to be one of the most talented performers of our time between appearances in many movies, her turns on Broadway in "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" (for which she won a Tony Award), "Wicked," and, most recently, the revival of "Promises, Promises," with out co-star Sean Hayes; in the acclaimed but cancelled-too-soon TV series "Pushing Daisies" and "GCB," as well as the more enduring "Glee" and "The Good Wife." In addition to Broadway showtunes, Chenoweth is adept at country and western, opera, jazz and pop, and will headline not one but two concerts on Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24.
The Bowl season will officially open the night of Saturday, June 22 with a powerhouse teaming of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Patti Austin and John Legend. Although Tyler has made a splash more recently as a judge on American Idol, he and Aerosmith will always remain first and foremost in my mind as the powers behind 1987’s Top-40 hit "Dude Looks Like a Lady." Both Austin and Legend, meanwhile, are renowned for their mastery of jazz and R&B.
Following them on Sunday, June 23 will be the unique combo of She & Him and Emmylou Harris. Zooey Deschanel, the "she" in She & Him, has come to epitomize modern-day quirkiness via her starring role on TV’s "The New Girl." Deschanel and co-writer/guitarist M. Ward have collectively put the "indie" back in indie rock with their unusual but increasingly popular music. Their new album, "Volume 3," releases this summer. Emmylou Harris needs no introduction as one of folk music’s reigning divas since the 1970s.
Superstar Josh Groban will kick off Fourth of July at the Bowl with three nights of vocals and fireworks pyrotechnics Tuesday, July 2 through Thursday, July 4. Groban’s powerful tenor voice has conquered New York, Las Vegas, Europe and most of the rest of the world, as well as having been featured in numerous films. He has to date sold more than 25 million records in a variety of genres worldwide. A native of Los Angeles, Groban has increasingly revealed a wicked sense of humor, in addition to his own support of LGBT equality. He’s pretty easy on the eyes, too.
Queen Latifah will take the stage on Wednesday, July 10. The Grammy Award winner and Oscar nominee (for 2002’s Chicago) maintains a loyal LGBT following despite some mixed messages she sent while headlining Long Beach Pride in 2012. Similarly, John Travolta’s long-rumored closeted homosexuality hasn’t kept his 1978 movie Grease from being a perennial favorite for many of us. The Bowl will once again present the Grease Sing-Along on Saturday, July 13, for which attendees traditionally dress in costume.
Another summertime tradition at the Bowl is an annual all-star cast mounting of a Broadway standout. Actress-singer-model Brooke Shields will direct Kander & Ebb’s classic Chicago in three performances from Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28. See our interview on the previous page with this lovely star.
The popular 12-piece band Pink Martini will take the Bowl stage for three nights, Friday, July 19 through Sunday, July 21.
August in Los Angeles typically brings hot days and cool nights, but the Bowl will be keeping evenings hot with performances by the legendary Tony Bennett on Friday, August 2, superdiva Diana Ross on Saturday, August 3, comedian-musician Steve Martin on Wednesday, August 7 and Natalie Cole on Wednesday, August 14. Movie music maestro John Williams will once again conduct a retrospective of his classic scores for such films as "Star Wars," "Superman," and the "Indiana Jones" series on Friday, August 30 and Saturday, August 31.
Classical music lovers can also watch and hear the electrifying Gustavo Dudamel conduct Verdi’s "Aida" on Sunday, August 11 and Requiem on Tuesday, August 13.
Closing out this summer at the Bowl will be perhaps the gayest event of all: ABBA Fest on Sunday, September 8! "Sing-Along Sound of Music" will give fans the opportunity to dress in the film’s style and sing in tune (or not) with Julie Andrews’ Oscar-winning 1965 musical on Saturday, September 21. And finally, things will officially come to a close on Saturday, September 28 with a performance by rising alt rockers Vampire Weekend.
For tickets and more information on the full Hollywood Bowl 2013 season call 800.745.3000, go to hollywoodbowl.com. Tickets can also be purchased at ticketmaster.com