Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2013

Hollywood Bowl Opening Night
John Legend, Patti Austin, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Darren Criss and YOLA at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2013 Benefit for the LA Phil



The Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2013 benefit celebrated the induction of Patti Austin, John Legend and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, raising more than $1 million for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its education programs.

For more details of the June 22 event, click here for my LA Times June 23 story in the Culture Monster section; and for pictures of the inductees, presenters and patrons who came to support the LA Phil, scroll down this page and check out the photo gallery below. 

One by one, all the inductees expressed their admiration for the LA Phil’s music education programs. Darren Criss, aka Blaine Anderson, of TV’s “Glee,” in addition to performing with a genuine high school glee club, had the honor of introducing the LA Phil’s young musicians. (See more about this below, too.)

Here are a few more items of note:

Hollywood Bowl Opening Night
The evening began with a VIP cocktail party, sponsored by the Wells Fargo Foundation, where patrons had their photos taken beside the iconic covered wagon. Patina passed the hors d’oeuvres and for those with a sweet tooth, Tai Treats provided chocolate pops shaped like suns and moons, reminiscent of the night’s biggest attraction – aside, of course, from the vast talent onstage.

That attraction was the supermoon, looking bigger and brighter than usual, because that night’s moon came within the closest distance to Earth for 2013. 

Barbara Rasulo and Jay Rasulo, CFO of the Walt Disney Company, chaired the gala, which brought out a mix of actors, business leaders, families and friends of the performers, and other VIPs.

Among others enjoying dinner in the boxes were Deborah Borda, president of the LA Phil; David Bohnett, chair of the LA Phil board; Sherri Saum of “The Fosters,” and her sister Lisa Saum; the legendary actress Anne Jeffreys and Jonathan Weedman, CFO of Wells Fargo; Morena Baccarin of “Homeland” and filmmaker Austin Chick; Eriq La Salle of “ER,” Wendy Burch of KTLA News, and champion figure skater Evan Lysacek.  

Hollywood Bowl Opening Night
More were Mia Swier of “Mad Moon Riot” and “Guns & Hoses,” there to cheer on boyfriend Darren Criss, along with the Criss family; champion skater Tai Babilonia of Tai Treats and business partner Frank Sheftel; voice-coach-to-the- stars Eric Vetro; and producer Lisa Erspamer, author of “A Letter to My Dog.” 

Still others were LA Phil supporters Connie Gavin and Ambassador John Gavin; Joan and John Hotchkis, Linda May and Jack Suzar, Sutton and Christian Stracke, Sandy and Barry Pressman, Laurie and Mark Cohen, Adele and Gordon Binder, Lynn Booth, Alexandra Dwek, Ginny Mancini, Lisa Kirk Colburn, and many more.

Conductor Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra began the night’s festivities, followed by Academy Award-winning actress Angela Bassett. Actor, comedian and former talk show host Arsenio Hall then introduced Patti Austin, calling her “the star that makes the stars gasp in amazement.”

Austin sang “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” “Baby, Come to Me,” “You Gotta Be,” and what she called her anthem for the 21st century, “Lean On Me.” In a nod to the special evening, she also sang “How High the Supermoon?”

As an aside, the answer that night was 221,824 miles high, an amazing distance, considering that American astronauts traveled there more than 40 years ago. While we revere modern astronauts, too, and deservedly so, their journey to the International Space Station is 230 miles, or 1,000 times closer to Earth.

Stevie Wonder, a legend himself, presented John Legend, who sang “Where Did My Baby Go?” “Again,” “All of Me,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and gave a shout out to his future wife, Christine. 

Ending the first act, the two legends, Stevie Wonder and the honoree, paired up for a duet of “Ordinary People.”

Criss opened Act II, apropos of the night’s festivities, by singing “Hall of Fame,” backed by the John Burroughs High School Powerhouse Show Choir, the real-life equivalent of his TV glee club.

“Well that was a trip,” Criss said on taking the podium, noting that the performances on “Glee” are taped and edited, as opposed to the Show Choir’s live number onstage. “That was live and they do that live all the time,” he said. “That was amazing.”

Criss next talked of the LA Phil’s youth programs and the student musicians who traveled with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to London, ticking off as their firsts, “their first plane ride, first snowfall, and of course, their first experience bringing a London audience to tears.”

The Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA) then performed the finale from Stravinsky’s “Firebird.” 

As the last presenter, Peter Fonda praised Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith not just for their music, but also for their “huge hearts,” traveling to Japan to help in the wake of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. 

“I’m a major fan,” Fonda said, before Steven Tyler and Joe Perry took the stage to sing “Dream On,” “Love in the Elevator, “Cryin’,” “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” and what Tyler called the best song he ever wrote, “Walk This Way.”


Top photo: Steven Tyler, left, and Joe Perry, right, of Aerosmith performed at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2013 (photo: Mathew Imaging, courtesy Los Angeles Philharmonic) 

Second photo: Darren Criss sang “Hall of Fame” before introducing the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2013 benefit (photo: Mathew Imaging, courtesy Los Angeles Philharmonic) 

Third photo: From left, Deborah Borda, president and chief executive of the LA Phil, with gala co-chairs Jay Rasulo and Barbara Rasulo at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2013 benefit, which raised more than $1 million  (photo: Mathew Imaging, courtesy Los Angeles Philharmonic) 

Fourth photo: Eric Vetro, voice-coach-to-the-stars, with Mia Swier of “Mad Moon Riot” and “Guns & Hoses” (photo: SocietyNewsLA.com)

Fifth photo: Morena Baccarin of “Homeland” and filmmaker Austin Chick (photo: SocietyNewsLA.com)

Sixth photo: Champion skater Tai Babilonia of Tai Treats and Frank Sheftel of the Candy Factory. Babilonia supplied super-delicious chocolates to Opening Night VIPs  (photo: SocietyNewsLA.com)  

Seventh photo: Two legends: Stevie Wonder, left, accompanies John Legend, right, for “Ordinary People” at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2013 benefit (photo: Mathew Imaging, courtesy Los Angeles Philharmonic)

Eighth photo: Acclaimed jazz singer Patti Austin was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2013 benefit (photo: Mathew Imaging, courtesy Los Angeles Philharmonic) 



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Hollywood Bowl Opening Night

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Hollywood Bowl Opening Night
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Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2013

Published June 26, 2013 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA