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Fans Get 1st Look at Bowl's Redesign

A public celebration marks the $25-million renovation to the historic amphitheater in Hollywood. The changes include a new shell.

June 14, 2004|Daniel Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

It had been so long since George and Luzstella Koschel had been back to the Hollywood Bowl that they didn't remember the escalators. But time away couldn't stop a flood of memories as the Laguna Hills couple stood in front of the iconic amphitheater's new shell Sunday.

"We used to bring our children here for sunrise services, oh, 38 years ago," said Luzstella Koschel, 62. "It's full of memories. The wine, the candles ... "

Added 67-year-old George Koschel: "The binoculars.... It's a tradition."

The Koschels were among those who got a first glimpse of the newly refurbished Bowl during a celebration of music and old-fashioned people-watching.

After eight months of renovations costing $25 million, the Bowl's 73-year-old circular shell was replaced with a more elliptical shell and an "acoustic canopy" to improve sound quality. A debut performance for invited guests took place last Wednesday, but Sunday was the first chance most of the public got to check out the new venue.

For some, the Bowl's improvements didn't take away from the old Hollywood nostalgia long associated with it.

"I was concerned, but it still feels the same. You can still see the mountains on either side," said Lynn Stevens, 60, a teacher in Calabasas.

As small ensembles played at various points around the amphitheater, people stood in long lines to get a free Polaroid picture taken at center stage. Women in floppy hats and children with balloons attached to their wrists wandered around eating free popcorn.

"This is nice. This is the closest we get to the Bowl," said Ricardo Lopez, 50, after having his picture taken onstage with companion Valerie Lopez, 42. "We've got 13 concerts to get to this year."

The bowl's summer season starts June 25.

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