A Los Angeles Tradition: Summer Evenings at the Bowl

Hollywood Bowl (Weird Al / Copland)userpic=theatre_ticketsI’ve been remiss in writing up live performances of late — vacation and other issues have gotten in the way. Further, they have been less traditional theatre and more in the category of concerts or other oddities. But that’s no excuse, so let’s catch up a bit…

In the past two weeks, I’ve been out to the Hollywood Bowl (FB) twice: once for the Weird Al Yankovic Mandatory World Tour on Saturday, July 23, and for the LA Philharmonic “Copland and Marsalis” program on Thursday, July 28th.

The Weird Al show was not “Weird Al: A Man and his Accordion”. Instead, it was a collection of costume numbers interspersed with  video presentations either related to the songs, or showing Weird Al mentions in various media.

The setlist (taken from setlist.fm) was:

  1. Tacky
  2. Now That’s What I Call Polka!
  3. Foil
  4. Perform This Way
  5. Dare to Be Stupid
  6. Fat
  7. Smells Like Nirvana
  8. Eat It / I Lost on Jeopardy / I Love Rocky Road / Like a Surgeon
  9. White and Nerdy
  10. Word Crimes
  11. Amish Paradise


  1. We All Have Cell Phones
  2. The Saga Begins
  3. Yoda (with Yoda Chant)

In general, the show was a mix of songs the old-timers (like me) would recognize, and new stuff that was parodies of things we had never heard of. But it was all fun, and the audience was into it.

The Thursday show was completely different. It was far from a sellout, and the crowd was much more of a classical audience. The “setlist” consisted of:

  1. Copland: An Outdoor Overture
  2. Marsalis: Violin Concerto (LA Phil co-commission, West Coast premiere)
  3. Copland: Symphony No. 3

This was a relaxed show: an evening for listening to beautiful music and watching the environment around us (of course, that was impacted a bit when a women near us got quite sick and required medical attention, including a bit of worshiping at the porcelain goddess, without the goddess).

I’ll get a writeup of the Sunday, July 24 show (Operaworks (FB) Opera Re-Constructed at CSUN) up in a bit.

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Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB), the  Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), and I plan to renew my mini-subscription at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB). Past subscriptions have included  The Colony Theatre (FB) (which went dormant in 2016), and Repertory East Playhouse (“REP”) (FB) in Newhall (which entered radio silence in 2016). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals).  I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows:  August is a bit more open in terms of theatre. The first weekend just has a Jethawks game on Sunday; the second weekend has a Bar Mitzvah.  The third weekend brings another event from the wonderful counter-cultural orchestra, Muse/ique (FB) — American/Rhapsody — a celebration of George Gershwin. Late August sees us looking at shows down San Diego/Escondido for one weekend. The best of the shows available — or at least the most interesting — is Titanic from Moonlight Stages. September returns to conventional theatre. The first weekend has a HOLD for Calendar Girls at The Group Rep (FB). The second weekend may be another Muse/ique (FB) event — Summer/Time, a reimagined retelling of Porgy and Bess. The third weekend has a HOLD for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Mark Taper Forum (FB). The last weekend is The Hunchback of Notre Dame at The La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (FB).

Continuing the look ahead: October is a bit more booked. The first weekend brings Dear World at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB) and Our Town at Actors Co-op (FB), as well as the start of the High Holy Days. The second weekend has another Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB) event: this time for Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. The third weekend has yet another VPAC event: An Evening with Kelli O’Hara on Friday, as well as tickets for Evita at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) on Saturday. The following weekend brings Turn of the Screw at Actors Co-op (FB) on October 22 and the new Tumbleweed Festival (FB) on October 23. The last weekend of October brings Linden Waddell’s Hello Again, The Songs of Allen Sherman at Temple Ahavat Shalom (a joint fundraiser for MoTAS and Sisterhood). Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, October is also the North Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB), and it looks like a theatre in Pasadena will be presenting the musical Funny Girl. November is still in the planning stages, but we know it will include Hedwig and the Angry Inch at  the Hollywood Pantages (FB); a Day Out With Thomas at Orange Empire Railway Museum (FB) [excuse me, “Southern California Railway Museum”]; the Nottingham Festival (FB); and possibly Little Women at the Chance Theatre (FB) in Anaheim. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves.