The spotlight was on everyone’s favorite rabbit, Bugs Bunny, at the Hollywood Bowl Aug. 15.
Despite our global whereabouts, it’s safe to assume we all grew up watching Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes in some way, shape or form. That’s the kind of substantial impact that these animated short films have had on our society since the 1930s, not to mention the delight of a performance from Warner Brothers Presents Bugs Bunny at the Symphony – 25th Anniversary! on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015 at the Hollywood Bowl that obviously pays a rather fun tribute to Looney Tunes.
This special spectacle of Looney Tunes teaming up with live orchestras has taken place for the last 25 years, and two packed crowds at the Hollywood Bowl means it continues to grow and entertain all types of crowds. Saturday night’s sold-out house was just that: pure nonstop entertainment from beginning to end!
With George Daugherty as conductor, the Los Angeles Philharmonic vividly outshone itself playing Carl Stalling scores all night long. After the “Merrily We Roll Along” theme came and went, we all were in for a true treat.
In the seven or so minutes of “Baton Bunny” we noticed a guest conductor in Bugs Bunny appear on screen. To the surprise of no one, simply seeing this famous character produced a powerful clap of hands and cheers from many. I, for one, didn’t expect that, but I became pleased to be experiencing that, given that Bugs Bunny is by far Looney Tunes’ most known figure – and my personal favorite. In this mini film, we laughed, smiled and got inspired (The score is just so darn brilliant.). The animation itself was just so wonderfully produced and directed.
To say Bugs Bunny came to life in “Baton Bunny” is an understatement; this charismatic rabbit joyfully entertained and lifted up our spirits. This became more plausibly evident as the show went on.
Besides Bugs Bunny, we also saw acclaimed moments out of Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester the Cat, Pepé Le Pew, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, and, interestingly enough, Tom & Jerry.
In “Johann Mouse” the public roared for the originality of the animated story on top of appearing to have satisfied ears for the beauty of the score’s musicality. “Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl” gave us more of their fun, yet oftentimes unfriendly delivery on the big screen. We all cherished its obvious homage to one of the world’s best venues in the Hollywood Bowl.
Voiceover artist Bob Bergen, the current voice of Porky Pig, also came to the stage for a few minutes. After describing his own personal and professional success story in Hollywood, he managed to briefly provide Porky Pig voice-training sessions. That there was historic, to say the least!
Before a trio of romantic, yet goofy Pepé Le Pew clips, Act I ended with “The Rabbit of Seville” – one of the venue’s favorites on the hot summer night.
The beginning of Act II was just as perfect as that of Act I. Here we saw prima ballerina Ida Nevasayneva (portrayed by Paul Ghiselin) perform during the “The Dying Swan” – a tribute to Bugs Bunny that we all came to love.
Despite the pleasant triumph of other characters such as Daffy Duck, this night belonged to Bugs. Before the “That’s All Folks” melody signaled the night’s finale, Bugs Bunny outdid himself in “What’s Opera, Doc?” while the L.A. Phil’s musical instrumentation of “The Flying Dutchman,” “Die Walküre,” “Siegfried,” “Götterdämmerung,” “Rienzi” and “Tannhäuser” sealed the deal.