It will require a lot of people to put together this year's Hollywood Bowl season, including a number of FOGs, FOHs and FOJs. Namely, friends of Gustavo Dudamel, friends of Herbie Hancock and friends of John Williams.
Among the highlights of this year's Bowl lineup, to be announced Tuesday, will be performances of Mel Brooks' record-setting hit musical "The Producers," a musical and visual tribute to Pixar, a Fourth of July program headlined by Barry Manilow, and a production of Verdi's opera "Rigoletto" starring baritone Zeljko Lucic and conducted by Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's music director.
Several of the Bowl's other attractions this season can be credited, in part, to the extensive network of personal and professional relationships maintained by Dudamel, Hancock, who is the Phil's creative chair for jazz, and Williams, the prolific Hollywood composer who makes frequent appearances at the Bowl and the Phil's other home, the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
"We find a lot of artists do things for us at the Bowl with their friends in a special-event category, because it’s the Bowl," said Arvind Manocha, the Phil's chief operating officer. "One of the things we feel very proud of is, 90% of our season are concerts that don’t tour, that are not going anywhere else, that are created for us, that will be done here, and they won’t be part of a 20-city engagement."
A central point of this season's tailor-made, site-specific programming will be the "Americas and Americans" festival (Aug. 14-19), an exploration of music from across the hemisphere, spearheaded by Dudamel. The Venezuela-born conductor has enlisted several Latin American colleagues, including Colombian rocker Juanes, Panamanian salsa singer-songwriter Rubén Blades and Dominican pop-merengue artist Juan Luis Guerra, to take part in various concerts.
"Juan Luis Guerra was somebody that actually we were trying to book to be a jazz headliner at the Bowl," said Deborah Borda, the Phil's president. "But Gustavo wrote to him or called him -- he knows everybody."
Also participating for one concert of the festival will be one of Dudamel's hometown acquaintances, Plácido Domingo, the superstar Spanish tenor and general director of L.A. Opera.