One of my first dates with my husband was a trip to the Hollywood Bowl to see John Williams. We went with my roommate and another friend of mine, so maybe technically it wasn’t a date? We always counted it as such. We had a great time, and over the years, went a few more times.
About 4 or 5 years ago, we started going again, after a few years hiatus when the kids were born. We usually try to see John Williams if he’s here. (He usually is. We did miss him 2 years ago and we were very disappointed.) Each April or May we look up the schedule to see who’s playing, and what shows the kids might like. It was “Fantasia” once. Another show featured Miss Piggy and Kermit (and Kristin Chenoweth). One year we saw a Beatles tribute, and of course sometimes they have Bugs Bunny at the Bowl.
Last night we went to see John Williams. We met some friends there, and had pretty good seats. The boys brought their lightsabers, just in case he played some Star Wars. It was funny… we’ve been going to see him for years. Each time, it’s a packed house. As we were walking up to our seats, I heard a woman in her 50s say to her companion, “I’ve NEVER seen it this full before!” lol She’s never been here to see JW, clearly.
While JW is famous for Star Wars, Superman, E.T., Jaws, Jurassic Park, The Olympic Fanfare, Indiana Jones, and Schindler’s List, he also wrote the score for the first 3 Harry Potter movies. And if anyone knows me, they know how much I love Harry. Last night was quite a special treat.
The show started out with the sounds of thunder and lights were flashing… it sounded like a storm. And then we hear a rather sour voice declare, “There’s no such thing as MAGIC!” and “Hedwig’s Theme” started. Lynne Redgrave was introduced, and she spoke about Harry Potter and his wondrous world, and introduced each song. It turned out the ENTIRE first half of the show was Harry! Add to that some clips for good measure, and you had me teary at several points.
I have to say, I’m not sure what EXACTLY it is about Harry that I love so much. I love all the characters. From Harry to Snape to the Weasley twins, the characters are so well-developed and beautifully written. Then, of course, there’s the whole fantastic world… Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade… and the houses, and the spells… Maybe it’s the relationships -how Ron and Hermione and Harry are such fierce and loyal friends to each other, or how Mrs. Weasley takes Harry into her home as if he’s one of the family, or how Dumbledore and Hagrid are almost like surrogate fathers to Harry. Maybe it’s that even though Harry comes from such a sad place, he still has such an amazing heart and spirit.
I’m not sure EXACTLY what it is. I suspect is all of the above. Of course, I read the first 2 books before the first movie came out and was in love with them, but the movie was amazing. Sure, some people scoff at the crudeness of some of the special effects. The children were indeed children and not the most experienced actors, but the movie was magical. Part of that was the music. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, you know what I’m talking about. If not, go here, scroll down, and listen.
Tonight we go to the Bowl again (bad timing on the part of the Bowl to schedule these two shows back to back, but what can you do?) to see Rogers & Hammerstein Night at the Movies. I know it will be fantastic. I know the orchestra will be wonderful and there will be some great music and great clips, but last night truly was magical, and will stand in a class by itself. I mean, when else can you listen to Harry Potter music the first half, and then wrap up the evening with Star Wars, ending with a grand finale of The Imperial March, while hundreds of lightsabers light the audience and wave along to the music?