Hollywood Bowl returns in full swing with 100th anniversary lineup: Billie Eilish, Yuval Sharon, more

Fireworks above the Hollywood Bowl.
A fireworks display at the Hollywood Bowl in 2010.
(Adam Latham / L.A. Phil)

The height of the pandemic featured a litany of dreams deferred: graduations, birthdays, performances of all kinds, gatherings large and small. Also deferred: celebrating the Hollywood Bowl’s 100th anniversary, which technically was last year but is being observed with a joy akin to rebirth this summer as the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Tuesday announces the iconic venue’s first full season since 2019.

The appropriately robust centenary lineup features an exciting array of performers, artists, musicians and entertainment luminaries including Billie Eilish, Debbie Harry, the Industry’s Yuval Sharon, John Williams (who recently celebrated his 90th birthday), Ricky Martin, Duran Duran, Big Freedia, John Fogerty, Diana Ross, Grace Jones, Flying Lotus, Itzhak Perlman, Lang Lang, Joshua Bell and the Paris Opera Ballet — all in service of honoring the Bowl’s legacy with tributes to historic moments from years past.

A view from the cheap seats of the Hollywood Bowl at night, circa 1950s.
Hollywood Bowl at night, circa 1950s.
(The Music Center Archives/Otto Rothschild Collection)

“Artist by artist, you can trace this connective tissue back to the history of the Bowl,” says L.A. Phil CEO Chad Smith.

Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Phil will preside over the festivities with 10 nights of music under the stars, including an evening celebrating the achievements of Leonard Bernstein and the composer’s long history with the Bowl, as well as a collaboration with Sharon, who will direct Wagner’s “Die Walküre, Act III.”

The same performance was staged at the Bowl in the 1930s, says Smith. If that Wagner show is any indication, this year’s rendition will be a spectacle. “There were hordes of horses running through the venue,” Smith says of the 1930s show, adding, “I don’t know what Yuval has planned, but a creative mind like his will come up with something extraordinary.”

Dudamel also will appear with Paris Opera Ballet, which has not toured the U.S. as a full company since 2012, when it stayed on the East Coast only. Two nights later, Dudamel and the L.A. Phil will perform with pop star Ricky Martin.

“If you need a snapshot of what this venue can mean, and how Gustavo and the Phil establish and embolden it, just look at that week,” says Smith.

Legendary crooners (and Bowl favorites) Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee will be feted in a star-studded tribute featuring Eilish and Harry, with Dianne Reeves and Brian Stokes Mitchell, alongside the Count Basie Orchestra.


Movie fans will find moonlight-soaked refuge in “Back to the Future” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” in concert. And lovers of musicals can get tickets to “Kinky Boots,” with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein.

The July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, always a fan favorite, will get a comedic and lyrical boost from Steve Martin and Martin Short.

“We want to program in the most extraordinarily diverse way,” says Smith. “We hope that in celebrating this incredible venue, and the remarkable community of L.A., that there is something there for everyone — that people see themselves, and find performers and music that is meaningful to them.”

Most of all, says Smith, “We want it to feel like the living room, or the backyard, of the city.”

In thinking about what 100 years at the Hollywood Bowl means, Smith says, he kept returning to the venue’s founding in the early 20th century. He thought about how a group of civic-minded leaders came together with a vision of an expansive space in the Hollywood Hills meant to accommodate everyone. “Built into its founding is the ideal of radical accessibility,” says Smith.

In keeping with that spirit, the Bowl is doubling the amount of $1 tickets it offers each season for Tuesday and Thursday night classical concerts and Wednesday jazz, from 1,140 to 2,484.


What will summer 2022 look like at the Bowl two years into the pandemic? Will there be masks and vaccine mandates? The answer is not yet clear, and will be dictated by up-to-date health and safety recommendations from the county and the state. Much is changing and will continue to change, hopefully for the better.

The Bowl has already weathered its first canceled season in 98 years, and managed to stage a scaled-back but still celebratory season last year when hot-vax summer gave way to the misery of the Delta wave.

“There are a whole series of questions that have to be explored by institutions and organizations but also by individuals,” says Smith. “I feel confident that we are much better prepared to respond, no matter what happens. As arts leaders and arts organizations — as businesses — we have become so much more flexible in our decision making.”

For the full season, click here.