HOLLYWOOD —Familiar music takes on new meanings when sung by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, whether it’s “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” or Tchaikovsky’s score for “The Nutcracker.” Much the same thing happens in the films of Baz Luhrmann. In “Strictly Ballroom,” “Romeo and Juliet” and most memorably, “Moulin Rouge,” Luhrmann used pop and classical music to chart emotions, creating fresh, vibrant musicals from everyday songs. In GMCLA’s new production “L’Amour,” Luhrmann’s unique style is presented on stage in a new — and typically GMCLA —way!
“L’Amour” represents a number of firsts for GMCLA, in particularly its venture from a traditional theater to a mysteriously exotic 1927 Spanish Revival-style structure that, among its many uses, was once home to ABC’s “Hollywood Palace” variety program — featuring the likes of Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong — and is now a multipurpose nightclub-entertainment facility. “The audience can expect to see and hear GMCLA in a way that it never has before,” says Hywel Sims, GMCLA’s Executive Director. “There is no ”˜them’ and ”˜us.’ They will be immersed in the experience of the show. From the minute our patrons walk in to the theatre, they can expect the unexpected.”
Songs featured in the show include “Nature Boy,” “Children of the Revolution,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Quando Me’n vo” from “La Boheme,” “Kissing You,” “When Doves Cry,” “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps,” “The Show Must Go On,” “Your Song” and “Love Is in the Air.”
Luhrmann “Deals with universal truths, but he deals with them in a very heightened reality,” Bill Bowersock, the show’s director, observes. “You know the Gay Men’s Chorus will dream up some similarly extravagant dance scenes.”
“We rearrange and mash up the music to create choral music that is distinctly GMCLA,” says Dominic Gregorio, the chorus’ interim artistic director and the show’s conductor. “Audience members will experience a spectacle that explores our community’s challenges and ends with the reminder that it’s all about love!”
“L’Amour” grew, in some ways, from audience feedback sought as part of updating the chorus’ long-range plan. Performing at the Avalon is an experiment in sampling venues closer to where many of our audience members live. Audience members are invited to arrive early to partake of the nightclub atmosphere while circus performers roam the space.
“L’Amour” is an all-ages event; the bars will be open, with wristband governance in use. The concert will be performed in about 90 minutes, without intermission.
WHEN: June 19, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and June 20, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
WHERE: Avalon Hollywood at 1735 N. Vine in Hollywood
Tickets – priced from $15 to $49 and more information about GMCLA are available by visiting gmcla.org.
Photographs are Courtesy of Gay Men’s Chorus Los Angeles