Hollywood Bowl Inducts the Go-Gos, Pink Martini, Kristin Chenoweth Into Hall of Fame

6:38 PM PST 06/23/2014 by Degen Pener
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Kristin Chenoweth

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame welcomed three new acts with a finale that brought them all together.

Before a capacity house of about 17,000, Pink Martini, fronted by singer China Forbes and pianist Thomas Lauderdale, started off the night with standards including Amado Mio and Sympathique in concert with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Lauderdale took a moment on stage to recall how the band got started back in the 90s. "If it wasn't for Pee Wee Herman and his Christmas special this band probably wouldn't exist," he said. Many in the audience scratched their heads until he explained that he'd seen the kitsch act The Del Rubio Triplets on the show and decided to bring them to Portland, Oregon, where he was living. Since they needed a back-up band, he pulled one together and Pink Martini was spontaneously born.

Proceeds from the evening benefited the Los Angeles Philharmonic's youth music programs and appropriately enough, the Phil's Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles performed under the direction of Thomas Wilkins.

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After intermission, The Go-Go's evoked the California cool of the '80s with such numbers as Vacation and We Got the Beat. They were introduced by singer Natasha Bedingfield who called them the first band where women played the instruments, sang and wrote their own songs. "No boys allowed," she said. Go-Go's guitarist Jane Wiedlin harked back to the band's early roots in a subculture some later fans might not know they derived from, remarking, "We started a little punk band less than a mile from here." They ended their set with a surprise appearance of a drum corps of Trojans from USC who got the crowd to their feet clapping to the beat.

For the last performance, Chenoweth was introduced by Carol Burnett who joked of the petite singer: "She's a towering figure in the entertainment industry … well, not really." When Chenoweth went up to receive her Hall of Fame award from Burnett, she sang a song to her comedy idol to the tune of the Carol Burnett Show theme song that started out, "I'm so glad you had the time to come here." Among her songs was a country song (the singer released a country album, Some Lessons Learned in 2010): I Will Always Love You, which saw the Broadway belter giving a soft twang-inflected take on the Dolly Parton classic. Chenoweth's Glee co-star Lea Michele made an appearance to duet on the Wicked song For Good. Before they started, Michele thanked Chenoweth for emailing her after Cory Monteith's death last summer that "music will heal everything."

The night, per tradition, ended with a show of fireworks as Forbes, Chenoweth and Carlisle formed a trio to sing "I Got Rhythm."

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