We have a lot to be grateful to Wallis Annenberg for the many contributions she has made to our city. One of them is the creation of the space made from the old and beautiful Post Office in Beverly Hills to a stunning space for all forms of entertainment. It was originally built in 1933 and remodeled in 2013 to its current space called The Wallis.
Now that the rain seems to be gone for now there are some wonderful adventures to see at The Wallis. I have two recommendations for now.
One is: Shanghai Sonatas: March 16-18.
“Since the story is told with music, dance and particularly violins that survived the war from Violins of Hope, it is suitable for all age groups and sends a message of hope and survival under difficult circumstances,” wrote Betty Grebenschikoff, Shanghai Jewish Refugee & Shanghai Sonatas volunteer consultant.
A compelling tale of how the unifying power of music brings cultures together, Shanghai Sonatas tells the story of Jewish refugee musicians escaping Germany finding sanctuary in the Jewish Ghetto of Shanghai in the 1940s. As a Jewish violinist takes on a troubled Chinese teenager as his student, a connection is made that helps both of them overcome their trauma and survive the war. This musical theater work, setting ripples in motion that carry through to this day, is based on first-person accounts of European musicians who used their optimism, humor, and musical talents to survive, forging friendships with their Chinese neighbors who saved their lives until Allied forces brought freedom to the region in 1945.
Join the audience after the performance on Thursday, March 16 for a reception in the Grand Hall hosted by LAArtsOnline.com
Recommended for ages 8+
A second recommendation to see at The Wallis is:
Hershey Felder as George Gershwin Alone: April 12-16.
Performed over 3,000 times in more than 100 venues worldwide, from theaters in Los Angeles to Broadway to South Korea and points in between, these will be the final performances of Hershey Felder as George Gershwin Alone for the Los Angeles audience, who was there at the very beginning.
This will be the farewell performance of the piece that started it all 27 years ago in a little theatre on Sunset Boulevard. So come and join the artist in the full performance of Gershwin’s “A Rhapsody in Blue” in a musical masterpiece declared a “sheer joy” by the San Francisco Chronicle.
This musical masterpiece tells the story of legendary American songwriter George Gershwin, who composed his first smash hit at age 21 and went on to compose a dazzling array of songs still wildly popular a century later. George Gershwin Alone reviews the composer’s brilliant and prolific partnership with his brother lyricist Ira Gershwin, incorporating beloved songs ranging from the popular hits “Fascinating Rhythm,” “I Got Rhythm,” “’S Wonderful” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” to excerpts from his groundbreaking musicals Porgy and Bess and An American In Paris. Felder’s exploration of Gershwin’s short but extraordinary life illuminates the master tunesmith whose work shaped a distinctly American style of music.
P.S. I was in Shanghai and did see a mockup of the Shanghai Ghetto – very moving.
Backstage with the Buzz is written by Sheila Tepper, Producer Cultural Programming. Sheila has lived in the Larchmont area for fifty years, among her passions have been passing legislation for children with disabilities and interviewing outstanding artists appearing in the Los Angeles area.