Music Center Celebrates 50 Years With Christine Ebersole

PRNewsFoto/The Music Center/AP Images
The Music Center's 50th Anniversary launch party at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Nigel Lythgoe served as master of ceremonies for the launch party.

Drinks and hors d’oeuvres were enjoyed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion’s legendary stage for The Music Center’s 50th Anniversary launch party Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Guests were entertained by Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole, who was introduced by the evening's host, Nigel Lythgoe.

“I think they want me to repay my debt to society for having brought American Idol to America,” Lythgoe told The Hollywood Reporter.

The evening celebrated the early years of The Music Center, which served as the venue for the Academy Awards for more than 15 years. Since 1964, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion has expanded to include popular performing arts venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Ahmanson Theater and most recently the Music Center Plaza. Florence Henderson remembered performing at the first opening productions for the Pavilion.

“We did '200 Years of Music' here,” said Henderson. “Every great Broadway performer in 1964, I think, came and it was an incredible evening. Then I did the very first musical here, called The King and I.”

As she looked back back on how much music has affected her life, Henderson expressed the importance of the arts for the youth today.

“For me, a kid with nothing, to come and become successful and open the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, I would love to inspire kids everywhere to follow your dream and if you have talent, nurture it,” said Henderson.

Ebersole, along with the Dean Mora Orchestra, performed musical numbers from the '60s. The five-story theater lined with grand chandeliers and filled with 3,000 seats served as the backdrop for the evening as guests mingled onstage.

“It’s like the heartbeat of culture in Los Angeles," Ebersole told THR. “It’s really the pulse. Everything that they do here is just so vital and vibrant, and it’s just thrilling to be a part of it not only as an artist but also as somebody who enjoys going to the theater and going to opera and going to the Philharmonic. This is where it all is.”

The Music Center will begin its official commemoration with a gala packed with performances on Dec. 6, exactly 50 years after the opening of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.