At the Tuesday press announcement for the 94th season of the Hollywood Bowl — that annual rite that gives invitees and frequent Bowl patrons a reverse P.O.V. from the historic venue’s stage — there was much news to impart not just about the programming, but the space itself.
Gail Samuel, recently named executive director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, pointed to the stainless steel and yellow Alaskan cedar that adorned the boxes that looked so new, you could practically smell the resin. On the season’s opening night on June 20, those boxes in the Pool, Garden and Terrace seating areas will be filled with new furniture.
“This is the first time in the history of the Hollywood Bowl that the entire seating area has been renovated during a two-year period,” Samuel said.
The artificial grass that covered the stage for the press announcement, used in many of the Bowl’s picnic areas, was the L.A. Phil’s way of helping to battle the drought.
Deborah Borda, president and CEO of the L.A. Phil, trotted out the organization’s rock star, music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel, who recently announced that he would be with the organization for at least seven more years.
Dudamel called the Bowl “a unique place, a magic place.” This year, for the first time, he will participate in one of the Bowl’s most anticipated traditions, the Tchaikovsky weekend (July 24-25), with Dudamel conducting the L.A. Phil in a program that includes Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, selections from The Nutcracker Suite, and, as usual, the 1812 Overture complete with fireworks.
Finally, five members of the rock group Journey were introduced as the latest inductees into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, following in the footsteps of such performers as Carlos Santana, Donna Summer, Stevie Wonder, Liza Minnelli and John Williams.
Journey will be the featured attraction at the new season’s opening night, its fourth appearance at the venue, playing with the L.A. Phil’s YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA) and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, led by Thomas Wilkins.
“This is such an amazing place with an amazing history of performance that it makes you get goose bumps,” said the group’s bass player Ross Valory. “This is the first time that I’ve been on the stage, or any of us has been on the stage, in which we are facing backwards from the audience.”