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Hollywood Bowl

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Hollywood Bowl History
The Hollywood Bowl Shell

The band shell at the Hollywood Bowl

Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
Although people often think the name Hollywood Bowl refers to the dome-shaped band shell on the stage, it is actually a reference to the natural bowl-shaped area surrounded by the Hollywood Hills formerly known as the Daisy Dell. The site was originally purchased around 1919 by Christine Wetherill Stevenson and some friends as a location to perform a religious production called the Pilgrimage Play. When her partners objected to limiting the site's use to religious productions, she sold them her share of the property and built the theater across the street that became the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre (formerly the Pilgrimage Theatre) to host her show.

Her partners went on to create the Hollywood Bowl. According to Hollywood Bowl archives, in 1920, Soprano Anna Ruzena Sprotte and composer/pianist Gertrude Ross trucked in a piano to test the acoustics from a platform at the bottom of the hill to figure out how best to situate the stage. The first large-scale production at the Bowl was the Easter Sunrise Service of 1921, which is still an annual tradition.

On July 11, 1922, the Hollywood Bowl officially opened as the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where they performed under a simple awning to an audience on wooden benches. In 1926, the landscape was re-graded to create better seating, but it had the negative effect of reducing the natural acoustic advantage of the location.

The Hollywood Bowl went through several band shells in its first few years, including two developed by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, before they built the arched dome, created by Allied Architects, that has become a model for outdoor stages around the world. The 1929 shell had a lot of acoustical problems over the years, and was finally replaced in 2003 with a new, larger dome with better acoustics. The new dome was designed by the architectural firm Hodgetts and Fung, with a structural concept by the local office of the international engineering company Arup. It is based on the best acoustic elements of two earlier 1920s Lloyd Wright designs, incorporating new technology and retaining the primary form of the 1929 landmark shell.

The entrance to the Hollywood Bowl on Highland Avenue is adorned with a sculpture of the three muses by George Stanley, best known for designing the Oscar statuette.

References:
http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/about/history.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Bowl
http://underthehollywoodsign.wordpress.com

Hollywood Bowl Overview
Hollywood Bowl History
The Hollywood Bowl Experience
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Hollywood Bowl Seating
Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Bowl Museum
The Bowl Store
Hollywood Bowl with Kids
Hollywood Bowl Tips and Extras
Hollywood Bowl Location - Box Office - Map - Parking - Shuttles
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