Reviews: @ the Hollywood Bowl — Cynthia Erivo & 'Princess Bride in Concert'

by Kevin Taft

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday August 4, 2021

Cynthia Erivo at The Hollywood Bowl
Cynthia Erivo at The Hollywood Bowl  (Source:Greg Grudt/Mathew Imaging/Hollywood Bowl)

Every few decades or so there is a concert that people talk about for years. "I was at so and so's concert" people brag. From Judy Garland to Barbra Streisand, fans remember certain concerts where the recordings have become iconic and the shows cemented the legendary status of their performers.
 
From "Judy at Carnegie Hall" to "The Elvis Comeback Special" to "Johnny Cash at San Quentin" and "Aretha Franklin at the Fillmore West" there are moments where an artist truly reaches another level, and on July 30th, Broadway star, film and television actress, and Grammy-award winner Cynthia Erivo performed a concert with the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl that will be "that concert" for the thousands of audience members who were there to witness it.
 
From the moment Ms. Erivo took her first steps on the Bowl stage in a stunning white gown of oversized roses, she announced her arrival. And with her opening number being "Don't Rain on My Parade" — famously sung by Barbra Streisand in "Funny Girl" — she knocked it out of the park like it was meant for her. It was a magnificent opening and set the tone for the evening. She was there to command your attention and you were going to willingly give yourself over to her.

Cynthia Erivo  

Erivo beautifully wandered through all styles of music from Broadway to pop to R&B and ballads. Her exquisite rendition of Sting's "Fragile" was gorgeous, her interpertation of Nina Simone's "Ne Me Quitte Pas" did the artist proud, and her own song "You're Not Here," written for her father, left no eye in the house dry.
 
Song after song, Erivo dazzled us with pitch perfect vocals that took our breath away and made us rise from our seats in adoration. The audience just couldn't get enough.
 
After a brief intermission, Erivo returned — this time in a black leather corset dress that showed off her playful side. She performed seven more songs including elegant and imaginative versions of 80s classics "Nothing Compares to U" by Sinead O'Connor, and "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)" by the Eurythmics. She also graced the audience with the first single from her debut album, "Ch. 1 Vs. 1," a song called "The Good."
 
She sent her adoring audience away with a rousing rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Freeway of Love" — an unusual choice, but a perfect ending to what I can truly say was a perfect night.
 
Erivo's poise and charm fluttered through the enormous Bowl crowd, and you could feel the appreciation she had for the moment. This will be a concert not soon forgotten, and should go down in musical history books as the show that elevated Erivo to that of a bonafide legend.
 
"Cynthia Erivo with the LA Philharmonic" played the Hollywood Bowl on July 30th. For information about upcoming events at the Bowl and for tickets, visit HollywoodBowl.org.

The Princess Bride in Concert

The Princess Bride in Concert
A still from the film "The Princess Bride"  

The Hollywood Bowl's tradition of screening beloved films while the LA Philharmonic performs the score live continued with this summer's big movie: "The Princess Bride" in concert.
 
As conducted by composer David Newman, Mark Knopfler's beautiful score came to life as fans of the film got swept away in the magic and humor of Buttercup and Westley, Inigo Montoya, Vizzmi, Fezzik, Prince Humperdink, and many more of the film's much-loved characters.
 
With the audience shouting out famous lines like "inconceivable!" "mawwidge," and "my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die," the night was all about reminiscing in the classic film and sharing it with new generations.
 
The film's director Rob Reiner introduced the film, speaking briefly about how he got Mark Knopfler (of 80's New Wave band Dire Straits) involved and the process of creating his first symphonic score.
 
Then it was off to the movies where the score took the audience on its wings and made us swoon for the romance, delight in the fanciful swordplay, and laugh at the silliness throughout.
 
It was a beautiful night under the Hollywood stars and a reminder that fairy tales are still alive and well; and after the last year, much-needed.
 
"The Princess Bride in Concert" played the Hollywood Bowl on July 31st. For information about upcoming events at the Bowl and for tickets, visit HollywoodBowl.org.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.