If 2017 was the year artists responded loudly to the election of President Trump, "Hamilton" moved west and some of the biggest change was centered in downtown L.A., then 2018 is poised to bring some variations on those themes.
TREND: Concert halls are seeing a surge in operatic and symphonic music celebrating notable African Americans. Last month Louisville Orchestra presented Teddy Abrams' "The Greatest," an opera-rap-oratorio about Muhammad Ali. Coming up in 2018: Opera Parallèle, the San Francisco contemporary opera company, will premiere "Harriet's Spirit," about Harriet Tubman. The Pittsburgh Symphony will premiere Kathryn Bostic's "The August Wilson Symphony," narrated by Phylicia Rashad.
BREAKOUT: We had "Hamilton," and then we had Bette and the Boss. But now that Midler has moved on and the frenzy over Bruce Springsteen's show has died down, the eyes of Broadway's are focused squarely on "Frozen." The Disney musical will be the splashiest theater story of 2018, with previews beginning Feb. 22 and opening night set for a month later. Much of its success may hinge on its stars: Caissie Levy as Elsa and Patti Murin as Anna, not to mention the young actresses playing Young Elsa (Brooklyn Nelson and Ayla Schwartz) and Young Anna (Audrey Bennett and Mattea Conforti). The production will be a box office blockbuster; will it be a star-maker too?
PREDICTION: Exposition Park's star rises. With its cluster of museums and nearby Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for USC football, Exposition Park has long been a popular destination. But its profile in the cultural life of the city stands to rise dramatically, starting with the forthcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, set to break ground early in the new year. A major league soccer stadium is also under construction: The 23,000-seat Bank of California Stadium will be home to the Los Angeles Football Club and is scheduled to open in April. Before then, the Coliseum will begin a $250-million renovation. Nearby museums have taken note of the changes and embarked on their own improvements: The California Science Center is planning a $300-million expansion, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is planning a 485,000-square-foot renovation of its western wing and south lawn entrance. Meanwhile, the California African American Museum has elevated its presence substantially with robust programming, drawing thousands of visitors to its art openings.
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