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Music Review

Film Legends Keep Singing, Even in Rain

September 25, 2000|CHRIS PASLES

It was magic time Friday night at the Hollywood Bowl. Despite persistent rain, a sizable audience of 15,574 sat entranced by clips of legendary film performances, fully appreciative of the musicians and singers who risked instruments and health by performing under the leaky, decaying Bowl shell.

The crowd saw the tarp drawn across the top of the structure to protect conductor John Mauceri, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Mitch Hanlon Singers. It saw musicians move their chairs back, harpists and bassists wipe down their instruments and water pool on the front of the stage. And it saw Mauceri don jacket and yellow hard hat after the short pause that replaced a full-fledged intermission.

Out front, umbrellas had gone up, and Bowl staff scoured the aisles, giving out clear plastic ponchos.

What kept everyone there?

Well, certainly the skillful playing of the orchestra under such trying conditions.

But how about James Cagney's nimble, balletic tapping in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942)? Or Gene Kelly's athletic optimism in "An American in Paris" (1951)?

Maybe Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' sophistication in Berlin's "Let's Face the Music and Dance" from "Follow the Fleet" (1936), or Ann Miller's zest in the "Tom, Dick and Harry" sequence from Porter's "Kiss Me Kate" (1953)?

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday September 26, 2000 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 2 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Release date--The Judy Garland version of "A Star Is Born" was released in 1954. An incorrect date was cited in a Hollywood Bowl music review that ran in Monday's Calendar.

Was it the view of a pastoral Hollywood Bowl, with an uncluttered shell, from 1945, ending in Sinatra's peerless singing of Styne and Cahn's "I Fall in Love Too Easily" (from "Anchors Aweigh")?

Or, at the close, Judy Garland's avid, electrifying performance of the "Born in a Trunk" scene from "A Star Is Born" (1945)?

Or maybe it was a sense that a regular concert had somehow become an occasion.

Mauceri cut the announced program by about 20 minutes. The crowd wanted more, but after an offstage consultation, the conductor turned them down, reminding people to return next summer.

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