Music

Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021)

STEPHEN SONDHEIM

  • By KEN WERTHER

When legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim died suddenly on November 26, it sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, centered on Broadway of course. I’ve been reading one tribute after another and even though I already knew, I have been overwhelmed by the depth of the man’s talents and accomplishments. Between the years of 1954 (when he was 24 years old) and 2008, he wrote music and lyrics for 18 Broadway musicals. Many, beginning with West Side Story in 1957 and Gypsy in 1959, are true classics (a superlative too often used quite freely), such as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins, and Passion. He won eight Tony Awards (including Lifetime Achievement), an Oscar, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2015. Arguably the most important figure in 20th century musical theatre, he was praised for “reinventing the American musical with shows that tackle unexpected themes that range far beyond the genre’s traditional subjects.” His shows very often address darker, more harrowing elements of the human experience, with music and lyrics of unprecedented complexity and sophistication. He wrote books, plays, poetry, and created crossword puzzles. He leaves behind a legacy unlike any other. He was 91.

Rest well, Mr. Sondheim.

Gay Men’s Chorus’ A Holiday Homecoming December 11 & 12 at Royce Hall

A HOLIDAY HOMECOMING

  • By J. COOK
  • Photo Courtesy of GMCLA

Hark! After an almost two-year pandemic halt, the herald angels are set to sing in person once again! The Gay Mens Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) is having a holiday homecoming! On December 11 at 8pm and December 12 at 2pm, Royce Hall at UCLA will come alive with the music of the season. Ernest H. Harrison, GMCLA Music Director and Conductor, makes his long-awaited main series debut and will raise the roof with holiday music from the choral, pop, and Broadway canons. 

Special guests Telly Leung and Nikki Crawford are promising this show will be spectacular. And Leung knows from experience — Disney’s Aladdin, Allegiance, and Wicked on Broadway, and playing Angel in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl. Crawford starred in the premiere of Stormy Weather at The Pasadena Playhouse and received the NAACP Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as young Lena Horne.

Founded in 1979 during the emergence of the gay rights movement, GMCLA has spread its message of love and acceptance with concerts across the globe and has raised its collective voice in the struggle for equality, social justice, the AIDS crisis, the fight for marriage equality, and for all those seeking to find their own voice.  Come out and partake in a Southern California favorite holiday concert tradition and join GMCLA’s homecoming as they exalt, “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”

For details, click here.

Arturo Sandoval with LA Phil in Big Band Holiday December 21

Arturo Sandoval

  • By Cynthia Lum

Jazz up your holidays with Grammy Award winning Arturo Sandoval and his Big Band. On December 21 Sandoval’s Big Band will turn the Walt Disney Concert Hall into a jumping, jiving, jingling night, performing a program of holiday favorites decked out in a Latin Jazz vibe. Sandoval delights in presenting a diverse and exhilarating show and this holiday treat with his musical expression of joy and goodwill is sure to raise our spirits as we celebrate the season.  

One of the most dynamic, brilliant multifaceted and renowned musicians of our time, Arturo Sandoval is by far one of the world’s foremost and exciting entertainers to set foot on stage. A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval was born in Artemisa, Cuba, a small town in the outskirts of Havana. He started studying trumpet at the age of twelve, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. He has since evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugehorn. Just as dynamic and vivacious on piano, timbales, vocals, keyboard, Sandoval is also a renowned classical artist, and composer.  

Multiple award winner, he’s the owner of ten Grammy’s, 6 Billboard Awards, an Emmy, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama and was honored with a Doctorate in Fine Arts from Notre Dame University in 2016.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Katy Perry begins PLAY (her Las Vegas Residency) December 29

KATY PERRY

  • By RICH ANDREW

For all those KatyCats out there, your pop star supreme will soon be waking up in Vegas. On December 29th, Katy Perry kicks off her concert in residency called “Play” at the stunning Resorts World Las Vegas, which just opened its doors for the first time this past June. What sets this theater apart from any other on the strip is its gorgeous design that boasts the farthest view being only 150 feet from the stage as well as the ultimate aural experience blasting out of 265 speakers. Just as the hotel’s playful promo shows Perry stepping into a kaleidoscopic fantasy of glitz and glam, the artist herself has always crafted her bubbly image out of vibrant colors and stylized dreamscapes. In an effort to top her usual theatrics, Perry has been hinting on social media that this performative extravaganza promises to debut a show so eccentrically fabulous that audiences will experience an entirely new way to play — dubbing the event as pop music on steroids. And with this all taking place in the entertainment capital of the world, what an epic treat it will be to watch Perry’s greatest hits reimagined with the grandeur of cirque du soleil. Tickets start at eighty bucks with the venue offering a pricey but worthwhile VIP treatment where you can party with Katy after the show.

For tickets, click here.