THE WALLIS FETE TO UNVEIL NEXT SEASON’S SCHEDULE
The Wallis Annenberg Center For the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills recently announced their line-up for next season in the most special way. They treated a few dozen VIPs to a lovely reception and presentation. What a novel thing to do! I was thrilled to be included among the luminaries.
We began the festivities in the lobby bar in front of the Bram Goldsmith Theatre on the lower level of the edifice, (which in case you didn’t know, is Beverly Hills’ former grand Post Office.) There was a perfect assortment of passed hors d’oeuvres, with plenty of vegetarian choices, which is always thoughtful of hosts to do. And they were teensy, as well—the perfect size for a very mingly cocktail party. My favorites were mini potato pancakes with a tiny slice of caramelized onion on top, and bite-sized crispy veggie tacos.
After just the right amount of time, we were invited into the auditorium for the program. When I asked Joel Hile, the Director of Marketing & Communications for the Wallis, if we choose our own seats, and he answered that we could sit in any chair on the stage that wasn’t in the first row, I thought that either I had misunderstood, or he was punking me. I said, “Yeah, right, sit on the stage.” But guess what? I finally made my debut on…the Wallis main stage! I wish I had paid a little more attention to the feeling. But I was riveted to the presentation. It was done really well, and moved right along.
The unveiling of the coming season was kicked-off with a song from duo Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould, the creators of Witness Uganda, a documentary musical. They got everybody up for all that was to come next. I had expected to see dances and musical numbers from upcoming productions, but that would have taken waaay too long. Instead, participants from several of the creative endeavors gave us brief outlines about what to expect from their companies’ performances. And they all spoke so well! Great to hear.
I really admire The Wallis for bringing us so much, and so many types of, culture. I repeatedly thank the powers-that-be over there, in print and in person, for featuring the most dance of any theatre in L.A. So I’m glad to see that that policy will be continuing next season. And they’ll be adding Cinema to their existing Dance, Music, and Theater programs. (When Artistic Director Paul Crewes told us that they were adding a fourth category to their roster of events, I was so afraid it would be stand-up comedy!) [Note: Oh no—now that I’ve mentioned it, they may do it the following season!]
A big treat was hearing from Debbie Allen about her free Dance Sundays classes outside The Wallis. If only my back was not fractured in three places, you know that I would love to join her for those! (But if ever they do a krump class, Mr. X will be happy to help demonstrate that art!)
When the season’s preview was all over, Paul Crewes said, “Now let’s go to the lobby and have a drink.” I thought that was a charming way to end it, but I assumed that’s all it was. But, when we got back out there, the bar was still open, and the amiable wait staff was already serving more appetizers! What a pleasant surprise. I’ve never seen that done before. It was especially nice for the guests who couldn’t make it on time for the cocktail party beforehand, and had joined us for the stage program only.
That extra part was really a treat, and not just for the snacks. Now that we guests had heard each creative person speak, it was really interesting to have the opportunity to chat with them in such a convivial atmosphere. I had met choreographer Jacob Jonas before, (guess where?—at The Wallis, of course!,) so it was interesting to re-connect. I was also happy to chat with Benjamin Mitchell about his conductor-less orchestra, Kaleidoscope. I spent the most time with two adorable dancers, Jenna and Rebecca, from the Ate9 Dance Company. I’m looking forward to seeing them perform later on in the year. (I asked them why that moniker, and they told me that the head of the company is not from America, so she loves the stupid [my description] kindergarten joke, “Why was six afraid of seven?” “Because seven eight (ate) nine!” Oysh. I’m assuming her choreography is better than her taste in humor!)
If you want to learn more about next season’s fun at The Wallis, just click here: www.thewallis.org.