The ’60s were a crazy yet influential time in our country’s history. People were fighting for their civil rights at home while debating America’s involvement in a growing conflict abroad, striving to find a place in this world that they could call their own. Half a century later, not much has changed. So reviving the 1967 American tribal love-rock musical Hair at the Hollywood Bowl for a three-night-only run this weekend has a special resonance beyond the potential to see famous people get naked on stage. And though stars like Kristen Bell, Amber Riley, and Sarah Hyland did not take it all off, they lead a spectacular cast of film and TV stars returning to their roots—theatrically if not follicle-wise. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Hollywood Bowl (1-4 of 4)
The Hollywood Bowl’s yearly A-list musical production has cobbled together another star-packed cast for this year’s mounting of Hair, directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman.
Kristen Bell (Frozen) will lead the cast as Sheila, alongside Hunter Parrish (Weeds) as Claude, Amber Riley (Glee) as Dionne, Jenna Ushkowitz (Glee) as Jeanie, and Beverly D’Angelo (who starred in the 1979 film version of Hair) as Mom. Shankman’s Instagram announcement also includes Broadway vet Benjamin Walker, recording artist Mario, and 2 Broke Girls star Beth Behrs among the cast. READ FULL STORY
I spent a good chunk of my weekend getting into the new Netflix show Orange Is the New Black, which follows the story of a woman from a privileged background who ends up in a federal women’s prison for trafficking drug money. It paints a pretty stark picture of the corrections system and looks about as far from a good time as I can imagine. On the extreme other hand, Saturday night I went to see Chicago, the 1975 Kander and Ebb musical, which plays for a handful of performances this weekend at the Hollywood Bowl. The show follows two 1920s vaudeville showgirls who team up after meeting in prison for murder. But there are no orange jumpsuits here. This prison is punctuated by shimmering dresses, punchy songs, an empathetic and bribable warden, and one sexy, slimy lawyer. If I had to choose, I’d take the Chicago version of jail.
Chicago, directed by actress Brooke Shields, closely follows the Bob Fosse-inspired choreography and staging of the 1996 Broadway revival (and strongly echoes the Oscar-winning 2002 film directed by Rob Marshall) — and with good reason. Shields recruited original Chicago national tour dance captain Gregory Butler to choreograph, and she cast recognizable faces in the leading roles — including Ashlee Simpson, who reprises her turn as Roxie Hart from the 2006 West End production. In addition, much of the very strong supporting cast performed in the Broadway and national tour productions of Chicago. The stark black-and-white staging and black-clad, fedora-topped ensemble suit the outdoor setting of the Bowl and work well on the much-needed jumbo-trons, but lack the shimmery punch of red that Marshall’s film version ingrained in me. So there’s not much new here, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
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Mel Brooks’ The Producers is typically a thoroughly New York affair, due to the fact that it’s a slapsticky, backstage musical about a pair of corrupt Broadway producers determined to make the biggest flop in the history of the Great White Way. But last night’s production of the musical at the Hollywood Bowl came off — as you might expect, in such a thoroughly historic Los Angeles location — as a very Tinseltown take on the show.
And it wasn’t only because Hollywood stars like Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dane Cook, and Rebecca Romijn were starring in the show, but rather because of the scene happening in the crowd as the sun set. Under the stars, tons of other stars were out and about. Brooks himself (looking spry at 86 years old!) ambled in with a security guard just minutes before the show started. The legend was followed by Eric Stonestreet, who plays Ferguson’s on-screen partner on Modern Family. Minutes later, Romijn’s husband Jerry O’Connell could be seen finding his seat in the amphitheater, which can hold about 17,000 folks when full. Who knows what other Hollywood stars or legends were in the crowd, but there were likely dozens of other bold-faced names there.
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