If you love pop-driven R&B, singer-songwriter John Legend will headline opening night of the Hollywood Bowl’s 2019 season. Fan of Hugh Jackman’s boisterous brand of musical theater? The Tony Award winner will bring his “The Man. The Music. The Show” to the Bowl in July. Sentimental for Cyndi Lauper’s bubblegum earworms from another era? She’ll be rocking the night away this summer too.
When the Hollywood Bowl announces its season lineup Tuesday, the goal will be to offer something for everyone, said Gail Samuel, executive director of Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn., which oversees programming and jointly manages the county-owned venue.
As usual, the L.A. Phil music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel will make plenty of conducting appearances, including a night with Pablo Ferrández on cello performing the Dvorak Concerto. That same July 16 performance will feature choreographer Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project performing to a suite of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
“He loves the Bowl so much, and every summer we find that audiences really respond to him,” said Samuel, adding that his performance with Lafourcade is part of a World Festival lineup that also includes an electro-funk dance party with Montreal-based duo Chromeo (June 16), a reggae night with four-time Grammy winner Damian Marley (July 7), a healthy dose of indie folk with Lord Huron (Aug. 4) and the exciting musical patchwork of Mexico City’s Cafe Tacvba (Sept. 15).
Then there’s the movie music, which is always a Bowl favorite. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” will be screened June 29 with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Justin Freer. “Jurassic Park” will play Aug. 16-17 with David Newman conducting. Legendary composer John Williams is returning to the Bowl for “Maestro of the Movies” nights Aug. 30-Sept. 1 featuring his scores played live to film clips (Newman conducts). And the usual sing-along “Sound of Music”? It’s back Sept. 21.
“It’s complicated, complex, wonderful music, and there’s something about the experience of adding the live orchestra,” Samuel said of the film scores. “The Bowl is like this giant movie theater and has this lovely feel.”
Fourth of July promises to be a blast in the form of fireworks and the smooth disco soul of Nile Rodgers and Chic.
The Bowl’s annual fully staged musical will be “Into the Woods,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, on July 26-28. Another bit of theater comes in the Aug. 20 “Peter & the Wolf” concert, in which Bramwell Tovey will conduct the L.A. Phil accompanied by the London-based puppetry ensemble Blind Summit.
Other highlights: “Abba: the Concert” on June 30 featuring Sweden’s tribute band Mamma Mia!; Pretenders frontwoman Chrissy Chrissie Hynde’s Bowl debut on July 6, which will include past hits as well as music from her new album of covers; Tony Bennett crooning the classic American songbook on July 10; an evening with Broadway songstress Kristin Chenoweth on July 14; Herbie Hancock and what’s billed as the next generation of jazz trailblazers on Aug. 21; and the legendary Gladys Knight on Sept. 8.
What else is Samuel excited about? “Black Movie Soundtrack III” on Sept. 25 featuring Marcus Miller as musical director and Craig Robinson as host.
“We have done it twice before, and it’s so much fun,” Samuel said. “I don’t know what the clips will be, but there’s a lot of new rich film material.”
Before opening night with Legend, the Bowl will stage the Playboy Jazz Festival on June 8-9. George Lopez hosts a lineup that includes Boz Scaggs, Angelique Kidjo, Kool & the Gang, Sheila E. and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.
The full season lineup can be seen here.