Seeing Stars: Where the Stars Meet the Public


Besides movie premieres, the stars also often turn out in force for the opening nights of new live stage productions when they premiere in Los Angeles.

For instance, the 2007 opening of "Wicked" (at the Pantages Theatre) brought out stars like Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner ("Alias"), Sean Astin ("Lord of the Rings"), Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), Tony Shalhoub ("Monk"), Shannon Elizabeth ("American Pie"), Angela Bassett ("What's Love Got To Do With It ?"), Victor Garber ("Alias") and Joely Fisher ("Inspector Gadget").

The 2003 opening of "The Producers" (also at the Pantages) attracted Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Alec Baldwin, Goldie Hawn and Billy Crystal, as well as cast members Jason Alexander, Martin Short and producer Mel Brooks.

Opening night at the opera in early September 2000 brought out Robert Stack, Jacqueline Bisset, Angela Bassett, Michael York, Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin (among others) to see "Aida" at the Music Center.

The 1999 opening night for the new musical "Titanic" at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (in Music Center), drew a star-studded crowd that included Barbra Streisand.

For 1998's opening night of the opera "Carmen" (featuring Placido Domingo) at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (in Music Center), the audience included such Hollywood celebrities as Candice Bergen, Patrick Stewart (Capt. Picard), Fran Drescher, John Lithgow, Olivia Newton-John, David Schwimmer, Joe Mantegna, Yasmine Bleeth, Richard Grieco, John Schlesinger, and Jay Livingston.

The July 12, 1996 revival of "Carousel" at the Ahmanson Theatre (also in the Music Center) saw a crowd of stars that included Shirley Jones, Nick Nolte, Lloyd Bridges, Debbie Allen, Tracey Ullman, Diane Ladd, Kathy Bates, Karen Black, Brenda Vacarro and Charles Nelson Reilly.

    

On April 13, 1995, the live Broadway musical version of Walt Disney's "Beauty and The Beast" premiered at the Shubert Theatre in Century City. Among the celebrities who showed up for the opening night festivities were Jack Nicholson, Robin Williams,Angela Lansbury,Tim Allen, Chevy Chase, Donna Mills, Martin Landau, Pia Zadora and Disney chiefMichael Eisner.

On December 9th, 1993, the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, "Sunset Blvd." premiered (also at the Shubert). Besides Glenn Close (the movie actress on stage in the lead role of 'Norma Desmond'), the celebrity-packed audience for that opening night included Patrick Swayze, Kevin Costner, Tom Selleck, Angela Lansbury, Kim Basinger, Lana Turner, Shirley MacLaine, Lily Tomlin, Alec Baldwin andRonald Reagan (withhis wifeNancy).

The stars arrived in limousines out front of the Shubert Theatre, and thousands of fans show up to watch them. Had you been willing to splurge on a ticket to the premiere (available from local ticket agencies), you could have rubbed elbows with many of those stars during intermission.

When the hit musical "Miss Saigon" opened at the Music Center in 1994, a number of Hollywood celebrities showed up to admire the newly-renovated Ahmanson Theatre, including Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Rita Moreno, Roddy McDowall, Hal Linden, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz and John Forsythe.

In 1996, the opening night of "Kiss Of The Spider Woman" at the Music Center brought out star Chita Rivera and her friends Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke, Loni Anderson, Betty White, James Coburn, John Lithgow, Ron Silver and Steve Allen.

The L.A. Opera season also brings out the stars; local opera fans include Robert Stack, Jack Nicholson, Jacqueline Bisset, Sidney Poitier, Kathy Bates, Lara Flynn Boyle, Angela Bassett, Faye Dunaway, Harry Hamlin, Angie Dickinson and of course, Tony Randall.

It pays to keep an eye on the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times, so you'll know when the next major Broadway musical or play is scheduled to open at the Shubert or at the Music Center.

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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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