Los Angeles is home to as many great theaters as a sizable theatrical venue has seats, which means that choosing what to see, and when, and where, can be a delightfully frustrating exercise in decision-making.
But only a few regional stages stretch back nearly a century, and fewer still offer an alfresco, starry night experience to those who travel the Cahuenga Pass to get there.
True, that pretty obvious "Cahuenga Pass" hint could very well be describing the Hollywood Bowl, but we speak of the Bowl's across-the-101 neighbor, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, which has a story that goes back to the 1920s (like the Bowl does, too; in fact, their beginnings have a shared story).
A major renovation and "a complete stage reconstruction" was announced for the historic venue in 2014, one that shuttered the stage and its pretty, tucked-into-the-hills property for several months, including the 2015 season.
Now the Ford is back, fully refurbished and newly asparkle. Starting on Friday, July 8, fans of cultural offerings can enjoy performances from the drum-tastic TAIKOPROJECT, rock outfit Quetzal, soul favorite Aloe Blacc, "Broadway Under the Stars," "Forever Flamenco at the Ford," chanteuse Lila Downs, "Let's Play LA!" from the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, and Chester Whitmore's swinging Big Band standards.
There's lots more beyond, so best peruse the summer schedule, which wraps on Oct. 15, 2016.
As far as what's changed at the outdoor amphitheatre, which is less than a half decade away from its centennial? Look for "a new picnic terrace for 200 people" as well as "new theatrical lighting and infrastructure improvements."
Other major improvements, both seen and not seen by the audience, are giving this gem of a venue a vivacious entry into its soon-to-start second century.