Monthly Archives: January 2016

Introducing The 2016-17 Season

You’ve heard the big announcement! The 2016-17 Hollywood Pantages Season has officially been revealed. Now that you know our big secret let’s talk about these 7 amazing shows. You know the shows but did you know these interesting facts?

Hedwig And The Angry Inch 

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  • The Original premiered off off Broadway at Westbeth and then ran over two years at the Jane Street Theatre beginning in February 1998.
  • Los Angeles audiences may remember that Hedwig played at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood (down the street from the Hollywood Pantages) back in 1999. The show starred Michael Cerveris as Hedwig.
  • Major musical and artistic influences for both the character and the show include Culture Club, David Bowie, Boy George, Elton John, etc.
  • The nature of the production will involve audience interaction for the lucky folks who are seated close to the stage.

The King And I

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  • The original The King and I ran on Broadway from March 29, 1951 through March 20, 1954.
  • There have been 4 Broadway revivals of The King and I.
  • The King and I was nominated for 9 Tony Awards in 2015.
  • Choreography is based off of Jerome Robbins’ original Broadway choreography (“Small House of Uncle Thomas” is a perfect moment by moment recreation of the original staging)
  • Yule Brenner Played the King at the Hollywood Pantages on 1984 tour.

Finding Neverland

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  • The Oscar-winning motion picture of the same name premiered in 2004, and starred Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet & Dustin Hoffman.
  • The story of Peter Pan in general, has a rich history of being retold in different media. Movies and stage productions about the Pan legend continue to be released today
  • Nominated for two Drama Desk Awards and the winner of Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for BEST MUSICAL!

An American In Paris

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  • The idea for An American in Paris,the film came to producer Arthur Freed when he attended a concert of George Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Freed liked the title and from that he built a musical with Gershwin tunes after months of negotiations with Ira Gershwin, estate trustees, and two different music publishers.
  • As further developed by the artistic triumvirate of choreographer and star Gene Kelly, director Vincente Minelli and screenwriter Alan J. Lerner, An American in Parisbecame one of the most famous film musicals in the history of Hollywood and went on to win six Academy Awards in 1951.
  • Gene Kelly’s widow Patricia has a personal relationship with our theatre. She often attends Hollywood Pantages premieres!

The Bodyguard

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  • Final scene of the motion picture was filmed at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre – Oscars Scene
  • Grammy® Award-nominated and multi-platinum R&B/pop recording artist and film/TV actress Deborah Cox will star as Rachel Marron.
  • The stage production takes all of the music from the motion picture (“I Will Always Love You” / “Queen of the Night”) as well as additional music from the Whitney Houston catalog.

The Book Of Mormon

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  • The Book of Mormon opened on February 24, 2011, has had over 2,000 performances and is still running on Broadway.
  • The show took nearly 7 years to develop. Trey Parker & Matt Stone met Robert Lopez after seeing a performance of Robert’s other Tony-winning musical: Avenue Q.
  • Nominated for 16 Tony Awards in 2011 and walked away with 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Female Featured (Nikki M. James) Best Direction, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, and Best Sound Design.
  • Robert Lopez is an EGOT. (He has won Emmy, Oscar, Grammy and Tony) He is the youngest ever!

Hamilton

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  • Lottery participation in NYC has numbered into the thousands for each performance.
  • The President of the United States has seen this production three times.
  • Questlove (of the band “The Roots” – The Tonight Show) is a co-producer of the HAMILTON Cast Album
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda was working on this show as far back as 2010, when he was appearing on stage in In The Heights at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. (A member of our staff remembers seeing a copy of the biography in his dressing room.)
  • This production draws multiple parallels to Americans of today, with the Americans in the late 1700s.

For more about these great shows visit: www.hollywoodpantages.com

Marquee

It’s the first thing you see when you ride the escalator out of the Hollywood and Vine Metro station. It’s the first photo-op for people arriving for a show. Our marquee has stood watch over Hollywood Boulevard for over 85 years. It has been featured in the opening of Jimmy Kimmel Live and various other television shows and movies. Did you know that there is also a replica of it at Universal Studios in Orlando? From the original to the digital update in 2013 here is a look at our beautiful marquee and all of its accomplishments.

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Hollywood Pantages in 1930

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Hollywood Pantages 1930

1960 Spartacus

Spartacus Premiere at the Hollywood Pantages in 1960

1963 Cleopatra

Cleopatra Premiere in 1963 at the Hollywood Pantages.

Apr. 6, 1959: Crowds gather outside of the Pantages Theater for the 31st Annual Academy Awards. This photo was published on page 2 of the Times the next morning.

Apr. 6, 1959: Crowds gather outside of the Pantages Theater for the 31st Annual Academy Awards. This photo was published on page 2 of the Times the next morning.

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A wider shot of the crowd for the 31st Annual Academy Awards.

La Confidential

LA Confidential uses the Frolic Room next door to the Hollywood Pantages for this scene.

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The Pantages Marquee can be seen in the opening credits of Jimmy Kimmel Live.

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The Hollywood Pantages can also be seen at Universal Studios in Orlando.

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(Above) the marquee gets a little check up to make sure all the pixels are functioning properly. The marquee is made up of a series of panels that have to be inspected regularly.

This is How We Speakeasy

When it comes to Bullets Over Broadway, the show doesn’t stop at the stage. The Hollywood Pantages creates a seamless flow from stage to lobby with our old Hollywood Art Deco beauty. So when someone said Speakeasy none of us thought twice! CBS’s Erica Olsen joined us in the 1920’s fun to help us promote our pre-show Speakeasy.

Below see the time lapse video of Erica Olsen getting ready for the pre-show Speakeasy in the famous Mirror Room at the Hollywood Pantages Theatare.

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Erica uses her grandmother’s purse to accessorize her outfit!

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Layers of beads were the look of the 20’s. Erica wears a necklace given to her by her grandfather.

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A 1920’s bridal headband adds some nice sparkle to the ensemble.

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No outfit is complete without the right pair of shoes!

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Erica shows off her look completed by her grandmother’s fur coat.

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Erica enters the theatre.

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Erica pictured on the grand staircase house left.

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Erica is greeted by the speakeasy bouncer. Remember password CHEECH!

See the final promo below

 

For more information about the Hollywood Pantages Preshow Speakeasy visit:

www.hollywoodpantages.com/speakeasy

Bullets are flying with William Ivey Long

By Evan Henerson

Ground zero: nailing the gangsters.

What, you expected waiters? We’re talking “Bullets over Broadway,” after all, a tale of gun-toting thugs exerting their muscle into creative arenas in ways that only the great Woody Allen could dream up and that only musical theater director extraordinaire Susan Stroman could bring to life.

So when he took on the assignment of creating the sartorial look of 1920s New York for the musical version of “Bullets,” costume designer William Ivey Long was thinking about thugs.

“Big focus on the gangsters,” says Long, whose designs would end up winning a Drama Desk Award and his 15th Tony Award nomination. “We knew getting the gangsters right would be the main thing. After that, the flappers, of course, and then after that, the diva.”

“Or maybe, before all things, the diva,” he adds with a laugh.

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Emma Stratton (Helen Sinclair) in her gown designed by William Ivey Long.

Long is referring to self-adoring actress Helen Sinclair (played on the “Bullets” tour at the Pantages Theatre by Emma Stratton), and rest assured we will be giving the diva her due presently. But for now let’s stay with the men with the guns. They include Nick Valenti whose funding of playwright David Shayne’s new Broadway play comes with certain strings attached, and Cheech, the tough but curiously literate henchman sent along to chaperone the proceedings. This being a show originally directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, “Bullets” also features a chorus of gangsters who…well, engage in a practice that wise guys are not generally known for doing.

“You will be thrilled by the gangster ballet. I think it’s some of Susan’s strongest work,” says Long who has now collaborated with Stroman on more than 25 productions. “It’s so masculine and threatening and just gorgeous.”

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Gangster Ballet Bullets Over Broadway

By no means is this the first time Long has traveled to the world of toughs and molls. Musical theater fans continue to ask Long about the splendid Runyonland duds worn by Nathan Lane, Peter Gallagher and company that Long created for the 1992 Jerry Zaks-directed revival of “Guys and Dolls.”

“That was sort of unforgettable, and deliberately so, but that was a very different Runyonland,” Long says. “We did that in Technicolor. Our gangsters in ‘Bullets’ are very close to real, very dark and foreboding, so when they tap dance, it’s a jolt. I’m always aware of what I’ve done before, mainly to make sure I don’t do it again.”

That last part can be easier said than done. In a career spanning five decades and includes more than 70 Broadway credits, countless regional and international productions and work for opera, film and TV, Long has visited and garbed a lot of eras. Long recently tabulated that he has designed costumes for nine productions of “Can-Can,” four in the last 12 months alone.

“Many of those are for Susan Stroman, so I don’t want to be seen as recycling,” Long says. “I do pride myself that someone is looking. I try to make sure they’re all different.”

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Above original designs for Bullets Over Broadway costumes

Unlike film or TV, the stage is the director’s medium. Long gets his creative marching orders from the director as well as all subsequent notes. After getting the assignment, Long launches into research the period he will be designing. If the piece has been adapted from an existing film, as is the case with “Bullets,” Long needs to know if the look of the film will specifically be referenced in the stage version (in “Bullets,” it was not).

Long then drafts a number of sketches which he uses to paper the walls of his New York studio. The director visits and places yellow sticky tabs on favorites. Then Long is off and running, going from thumbnails or larger sketches to creating the actual costumes, all the way through to multiple fittings.  Costumes are refitted for new body types, but are rarely redesigned for a tour, so audiences who catch “Bullets” at the Pantages will see the original Broadway costumes. If a show is recreated for an international production, Long may get to go back in and rework.

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(Photo by Kate Pollard 2012)

“I always say thank you for the London production. That’s when you get to really fix it,” he says, laughing.

If Long has done his job correctly, audiences will drink in the glamour of, say, one of Helen Sinclair’s many diva gowns, but also take for granted that the outfit will allow for Stratton’s (Helen) to perform an acrobatic seduction dance while riding a rolling costume wardrobe known as a “gondola.”

Consider the shapeless, Grecian-inspired gowns of “Downton Abbey” worn by Lady Mary Crawley which would have been worn during the same general time period as “Bullets over Broadway.”

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Michael Williams (David Shayne) and Emma Stratton (Helen Sinclair) Bullets Over Broadway

“That’s what they wore, and there is very little fabric,” Long says. “The women looked like statues. That was one of the points of it, and Susan has them dancing and twirling and kicking. Well you can’t kick and dance and twirl in that Grecian 1920s look, so I had to transmogrify a period. You sort of shift and shape and change, and when they’re in repose, you see the ‘20s. But when they move, it’s whatever the dance requires. Hopefully no one will notice that it’s been a challenge because they look so appropriate.”

“Trust me, Lady Mary couldn’t do high leg fan kicks walking down the stairs in Downton Abbey,” he adds.

The son of actor-director parents who had met in drama school, Long studied history at William and Mary college before moving on to study art history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“the family school”) and, ultimately to Yale Drama School to study scenic design under Ming Cho Lee. Long never formally studied costume design. Instead, he picked up the craft through “osmosis.” Seeking a mentor, Long moved into the Chelsea Hotel and apprenticed himself to famed couturier Charles James. As some of Long’s classmates (including Christopher Durang and Albert Innaurato) began to stage their plays, they asked Long to contribute designs, not for sets, but for costumes. His break came in 1982 with the Broadway premier of Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston’s “Nine” directed by Tommy Tune.

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Kaylee Olson, Carissa Fiorillo and Elizabeth Dugas (The Atta- Girls) Bullets Over Broadway

“Nine” earned Long the first of his 15 Tony nominations. He has won six, the most recent in 2013 for the revival of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” which continues to tour. Long’s current slate includes costumes for the upcoming Broadway musical comedy “Disaster!” and several international projects. He will spend much of January in Los Angeles readying the Rydell High kids for “Grease Live” set to air on Fox January 31. November 2016 will mark the 30th anniversary of another of Long’s now iconic Broadway looks: Walter Bobbie’s production of “Chicago.”

His work has been featured in exhibitions including “William Ivey Long: Between Taste and Travesty” at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2007. The title came from former “New York” critic John Simon who used the phrase in his review of the off-Broadway play “The Lady and the Clarinet” in 1983.

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The Red Caps from Bullets Over Broadway

It was the first professional review citing Long’s work, and the designer loved it.

“I was just over the moon by it. I thought, ‘Oh my goodness. He gets me,’” Long recalls. “I always said I’m either going to put it on my tombstone or I’m going to use it for an exhibition of my work. So we had a catalog, and I knew what the title should be. Not only that, but I have subsequently become friends with John Simon and he came to the opening and gave the opening address at this exhibit. So how about that?”

This of course begs the question…was Simon paying a compliment. Does a costume designer want to hover between taste and travesty?

If that costume designer is William Ivey Long, the answer is an unequivocal affirmative.

“I guess I push things,” he says. “I sort of do an interpretive take which is how I see the world, and sometimes I guess this take is sort of mad. I don’t go out of my way to make travesty. I think my brain just has a pressure cooker in it and it turns out crazy.”

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Evan Henerson has been writing about theater in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. He was the Theater writer and critic for the Los Angeles Daily News for nine years and has written for Playbill Online, Backstage, American Theatre and Stage Directions.You can read his reviews on TheaterMania, CurtainUp and Examiner.com.