By the light of the supermoon at Saturday’s Opening Night festivities at the Hollywood Bowl, Patti Austin, John Legend and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. Academy Award-nominated actress Angela Bassett welcomed the crowd, while a notable trio -- Arsenio Hall, Stevie Wonder and Peter Fonda -- presented the awards.
As if all that weren’t enough reason for a celebration complete with fireworks, Darren Criss of TV’s “Glee” introduced YOLA, the Youth Orchestra L.A., but not until after his performance with the John Burroughs High School Powerhouse Show Choir. Thomas Wilkins conducted both YOLA and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.
A benefit for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its education programs, the star-studded evening generated proceeds of more than $1 million. Barbara Rasulo and Jay Rasulo, chief financial officer of Walt Disney Co., chaired the event.
In keeping with longstanding Hollywood Bowl tradition, VIP patrons enjoyed dinner in the boxes while awaiting the show. Among others seen were Morena Baccarin of “Homeland,” Sherri Saum of “The Fosters,” Eriq La Salle of “ER,” champion skaters Evan Lysacek and Tai Babilonia, L.A. Phil president Deborah Borda, L.A. Phil board chair David Bohnett, former ambassador John Gavin and Constance Towers Gavin, Jonathan Weedman of the Wells Fargo Foundation, noted voice coach Eric Vetro, Joan and John Hotchkis and Ginny Mancini.
Actress Anne Jeffreys recalled the Bowl’s earlier days, when people set their tables with candelabras and hired butlers to serve dinner. She first came, she said, as a teenager in 1941. On that night, also during a full moon, Rachmaninoff played.
“He was playing the piano and then he’d glance over his shoulder to admire the moon,” she said.
From onstage, Patti Austin, too, took notice of the skies, singing “How high the super-moon.” (On Saturday night and Sunday morning, the moon – still high at 221,824 miles away – came closest to the Earth for 2013.)
Stevie Wonder introduced John Legend, talking of how well the singer’s name fit. Legend ended his set by asking Wonder to join him for “Ordinary People.”
“Hollywood Bowl -- unbelievable,” said Criss, seating himself at the piano. He dedicated his song, “Hall of Fame,” to the night’s inductees and to the children who benefit from the L.A. Phil’s music education programs.
Taking the podium, Criss talked of the L.A. Phil’s music program, YOLA, which provides free instruments, music training and academic support to children in South Los Angeles and L.A.’s Rampart District. YOLA then played the finale of Stravinsky’s “Firebird.”
The evening ended with Peter Fonda introducing Tyler and Perry as “the baddest rock 'n' rollers ever to go into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.”
“Let’s rock,” said Tyler, as he and Perry performed their set, stopping to thank the L.A. Phil for the recognition, and the audience as for supporting music education. They ended with “Walk This Way,” joined onstage by the other honorees as fireworks lit the skies.
Find more of Ellen Olivier’s reports on social happenings at Society News LA.