Get ready to pop your picnic-basket Champagne. The iconic Hollywood Bowl—again named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue in this year's Pollstar Awards—has announced its upcoming 2015/16 summer season. And it’s one of its most diverse ever, ranging from classical to jazz, and performers from Abba to Ziggy Marley.
Highlights include an all-star Frank Sinatra tribute, the Playboy Jazz Festival, a 50th anniversary sing-along for The Sound of Music, the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing John Williams’ E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial score, and a staging of Monty Python’s Spamalot. Season tickets are now available to subscribers online before the May 3 public sale.
The mainstay of the summer Hollywood Bowl season is their orchestra performing classical Tuesdays with a program of superstar soloists, fiery conducting by Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and Bramwell Tovey, and special guests. The Sunday Sunset Concerts series will feature Cirque Musica, Verdi’s grand opera La Traviata, and the Bowl’s annual fully-staged Broadway musical. This year it’s the irresistible Spamalot with a to-be-announced cast and director. (Note to Neil Patrick Harris: Tonys schmonies. Please come back!)
The jazz programs kick off with the Playboy Jazz Festival, hosted by George Lopez and includes an all-star tribute to Jaco Pastorius and the annual Pink Martini evening. Guests will also be treated to shows starring Trombone Shorty, Jamie Cullum and the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club. This season’s KCRW World Festival will feature electronic icons Underworld, Basement Jaxx, reggae stars Ziggy and Stephen Marley, and androgynous icon Grace Jones.
Saturdays are for superstars under the stars. Popular Weekend Spectacular shows pair the house orchestra with star performers including Ed Sheeran, Smokey Robinson and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Sheryl Crow, Death Cab for Cutie, David Gray, Amos Lee, Diana Krall and what’s being billed as the “world’s best” ABBA tribute band (AKA the best night out ever). Opening night artists for the big June 20 gala haven’t been announced, but a sell-out is guaranteed since previous years have featured Aerosmith, Kristen Chenoweth, John Legend, Stevie Wonder and Julie Andrews among others.
The pièce de résistance is the September 13 fireworks finale with The B-52s and The Psychedelic Furs accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Is there any sunnier way to end the summer than a Hollywood Bowl concert marriage between “Rock Lobster” and “Pretty in Pink” with a world-class orchestra? No, there is not.