Beverly Hills pulled out all the stops to celebrate its 100th anniversary as a city Tuesday night, an easy feat given the abundant material created by dozens of notable composers and lyricists who have called the gilt-edged community home.
A capacity crowd of about 1,500 attended the centennial concert and sing-along at the historic Saban Theater, where selections covered the melodic spectrum — from
Actress June Lockhart performed "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise," written by her late father, Gene Lockhart. Florence Henderson, star of the 1970s TV series "
The tone in the Art Deco venue was more than a little self-congratulatory, with emcee Shadoe Stevens, among others, calling Beverly Hills the land "of the greatest people on Earth." A slick birthday video featured residents extolling the town's virtues and, occasionally, poking fun, with one referring to the city as "Mayberry with
Historic film clips and photos displayed on a big screen above the stage reflected a rural, pre-highrise community where residents rode horses along now traffic-clogged streets. Footage from
The audience trilled along as maestro Gary S. Greene led his L.A. Lawyers Philharmonic in performing standards including "Moon River" (
Richard Sherman — whose musical work on "Mary Poppins" was featured in the movie "Saving Mr. Banks" — led the orchestra in a medley of his and his late brother Robert's tunes, including "A Spoonful of Sugar" and "It's a Small World." Charles Fox, best known for composing the Grammy-winning "Killing Me Softly With His Song," also took a turn on the podium to conduct a group of his TV themes.
Monty Hall posed Beverly Hills trivia questions to several former mayors. One was stumped by: Was the city seal designed by a famous artist or a high school student? Answer: a student.
Representing the much younger set was 14-year-old resident Golda Berkman, a promising opera singer who performed "Summertime."
The Beverly High band helped cap the night by marching down the aisles toward the stage playing a full-throttle rendition of Meredith Willson's "76 Trombones."
After snacking on cupcakes in the lobby, exiting audience members were handed a favor: a 6-ounce bag of Beverly Hills Centennial Blend coffee beans.