Stories » LA Phil's Hollywood Bowl open was an enchanting hoot with Katia and Marielle Labeque & actor Sean Hayes / STAGEANDCINEMA

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LA Phil's Hollywood Bowl open was an enchanting hoot with Katia and Marielle Labeque & actor Sean Hayes / STAGEANDCINEMA

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Utilizing the expressive piano duo, sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque, and humorous actor Sean Hayes, LA Phil's Hollywood Bowl 2019 opening was an enchanting hoot. I was already looking forward to seeing the French pianists, having recently heard their astoundingly accessible (given some new music) CD of El Chan, which has the ladies absolutely nailing American composer Bryce Dessner's Concerto For Two Pianos.

But Sean Hayes? you may ask. From TV's sitcom Will & Grace? I was surprised and bemused when I saw his name inserted in the program with a note: "Text by Sean Hayes." And, frankly, I also had a sinking feeling that his presence would mar the gravitas of the event. But boy oh boy did he ever prove me wrong. Carried out in a cage, he emerged in a suit and offered an old-fashioned Bob Hope-kind of routine, making witty remarks in-between pieces and even getting involved with Marielle for Movement 10, "Pianistes," which depicts pianists diligently working at their scales (yep, Hayes is a classical pianist) - he also took conductor Juanjo Mena's baton for three chords. Inhabiting his cute, conceited character of W&G‘s Jack McFarland, Hayes wasn't afraid of racy humor, referring to "Poules et coqs" ("Hens and Roosters") and "Hémiones (animaux véloces)" ("Wild Donkeys [Fleet Animals]") as establishments in West Hollywood with "Hens and Cocks" and, down the street, "Wild Asses."

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