Monday, June 22, 2009
Josh Groban, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, William Shatner, Priscilla Presley, and Dame Edna: Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2009Josh Groban performing at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2009 Last Friday, I was invited to see a once-in-a-lifetime event: The Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2009 Hall of Fame Gala. I have been to the Hollywood Bowl many times, but never as a "VIP" and certainly never had the chance to attend one of their much-sought after Opening Nights. As you may recall (if you have been keeping up with my blog), I was invited to be on the Opening Night Hollywood Bowl 2009 Official Committee by my good friends, Jonathan Weedman and Raymundo Baltazar, who were one of only three illustrious couples that made up the Gala Co-Chairs. The Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2009 Co-Chairs and Commitee Members (I'm on the top left) I received my invitations and almost needed a crow bar to close my jaw as I realized that my partner David Paul and I would have our own BOX (I know!!!) and we would be sharing it with my other Committee "girlfriend", the stylish and always charming, Alison Nieder, Editor of the California Apparel News, one of the events' sponsors. Opening Night Virgins: Nick Verreos and David Paul, designers of NIKOLAKI Private VIP reception, three course dinner catered by the world-renown Patina, our own waiter, Gallo wines. It was almost too much to take. As we arrived, we headed to the VIP cocktail reception and immediately, we were handed a Champagne and Pomegranate concoction which we could not refuse. We also sampled the fabulous-tasting tapas of spicy beef mini empanadas, tortilla Espanola, sausage paella and ceviche. Commitee Hall of Fame: Nick Verreos and Raymundo Baltazar, pose with Alison Nieder (of the California Apparel News) and friend I was also on a mission to taste the cheeses that were strewn throughout the cocktail reception--ask Raymundo! Needless to say, we found it, and they were delicious. I also got a chance to pose at the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame Wall. Naturally, I went right to Liza Minnelli. Nick with a K: Nick poses next to the Liza Minnelli photo at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night Hall Of Fame Wall, VIP cocktail reception About 30 minutes later, we were whisked towards the Hollywood Bowl auditorium to get to our boxes, since dinner was about to start! As we got to our box, I spotted many a celebrity all around me. It was a "Who's Who" of the Hollywood, TV and music industry. Priscilla Presley was in a box just in front of us (I was DYING!), William Shatner sat in THE SAME BOX with our Co-Chair friends Jonathan and Raymundo not too far away. Hollywood Legends Meets Project Runway: Ann Rutherford and Anne Jeffreys pose with Nick Verreos and Raymundo Baltazar Along with William Shatner, they also had a couple of distinguished guests in their box, including Hollywood actress (and DIVA) Anne Jeffreys, who has been in everything from Daytime Drama "Port Charles", to "Baywatch" and "Fantasy Island", as well as hundreds of other TV and film projects. The stunningly beautiful Ann Rutherford -- who is the last living actress from "Gone With The Wind", besides Olivia de Havilland-- was also their Hollywood Bowl box seat companion. NIKOLAKI fan: Nick Verreos and actress Melora Hardin of NBC's 'The Office" "Dancing With The Stars" Chilean actor/hearthrob Cristian de la Fuente was also in front of us, along with his beautiful wife, TV presenter and actress Angelica Castro. Behind us, I also noticed a tall gorgeous woman who looked familiar. Well, of course she did, because she's actually worn my dresses! Actress Melora Hardin in NIKOLAKI, hosting an Elle Magazine event in NYC It was Melora Hardin, the stunning actress of NBC's "The Office". I approached her and after I introduced myself (I had never met her since I only worked with her stylist), I had to tell her how gorgeous she looked in NIKOLAKI.Melora Hardin in NIKOLAKI, on the "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet", NYC Now onto the concert: It was out of this world! Kiwi Opera star Kiri Te Kanawa was incredible. Her voice was perfection! When she sang the first notes of Puccini's "O Mio Babbino Caro", I think I stopped breathing! Josh Groban was amazing, with his perfectly pitched voice which never faltered, as he sang "Pearls" , "Anthem" from the musical "Chess" and "February Song", a duet with Benin-born chanteuse Angelique Kidjo. I loved how uniquely different the two new 2009 Hall of Fame inductees were and yet how similar they were in their desire for reaching perfection in their music and voice. It was also fun to see the "Grobanites" and the "Te Kanawa-ites" fans converge at the Hollywood Bowl for the sheer enjoyment of their most beloved idols.Queens: Dame Edna and opera legend (and 2009 Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame Inductee), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, share the stage One of the highlights of the entire night was when Dame Edna came out on stage in a red sequined gown and almost brought the house down with her hysterical sassy humor. Every gay in the Hollywood Bowl was on the floor laughing (so was Priscilla Presley!) The night ended with John Williams conducting the Hollywood Bowl LA Philarmonic. They performed the iconic "Star Wars" overture and a stunning fireworks display over the Hollywood Hills. It was truly a magical night and I thank my hosts and Co-Chairs, Jonathan Weedman and Raymundo Baltazar for making it happen. Click HERE for a great Review from the Los Angeles Times. Below is a youtube video of the Finale duet between Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Josh Groban with a special appearance by none other than Dame Edna!!!