Autumn is upon us, and with it, a brand-new season of music, dance, theater, film and family entertainment at The Wallis. In the six months since my arrival here in Beverly Hills, I have come to embrace the spirit of community and pride that this wonderful city exudes through its dedicated City Council and staff, the local businesses, and our residents. Over the past 10 years, the staff and Board of Directors here at The Wallis have tirelessly worked to build the reputation that we now enjoy locally, nationally, and internationally as a cultural destination in Southern California.
That being no low bar to clear, I want to take this moment to introduce you to what we have in store for you this season. I am very happy to share that we have fully opened our doors again during regular business hours. We welcome you to stop by and say “hello,” take a tour of our campus, chat with our fantastic Ticket Services staff, or just simply stroll about and enjoy the historic architecture.
Our artistic programming is garnering great excitement. A few short weeks ago we were overjoyed to open our season with two sold-out performances of soul/R&B artist PJ Morton and Dean & Britta’s “13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests.” Our season-long partnership with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra launched and we dipped our toes into the comedy arena with “Saturday Night Live” alum Tim Meadows. We have since welcomed back fan favorite “BODYTRAFFIC” with two sold-out evenings of incredible dance featuring two world premieres, this season’s first family-friendly theater performance of New York Times bestselling author Todd Parr’s “It’s Okay to Be Different,” and The Wallis debut and world premiere performance of Michael Feinstein’s tribute to Liza and Vincente Minnelli. We are back and audiences are returning to enjoy live performances at The Wallis more than ever.
In just a few weeks, we will announce the second half of our 2023/2024 Season. In the meantime, I invite you to peruse our incredible line-up over the next four months. The centerpiece of the winter is the return of L.A.’s holiday entertainment tradition—“Love Actually Live.” Over the past three engagements of this iconic mash-up of film and concert at The Wallis, tens of thousands of Angelenos have made this their go-to holiday celebration, and this year we are also honoring the 20th Anniversary of the beloved film.
This season we also focus on exploring new musical genres. We are bringing you several new styles of global and local music that have never been on our stages before, such as folk, funk, roots, blues and much more. We are reenergizing “The Sorting Room,” which is returning after four years, as our eclectic and intimate nightclub this October and December.
For our local families, we hope you were able to join us on Oct. 14 for the debut of Family Fest. This offering was a reimagining of our former Sunday Funday program, making it bigger and better with a multitude of family-friendly artists who performed throughout the day across our campus, along with kid-friendly activities in partnership with our friends at Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. These events are completely free to everyone, so we hope that you can join us again this spring for the next offering.
Speaking of free events, please join us on the morning of Nov. 3 for the arrival of Little Amal. Little Amal is a 12-foot-tall puppet representing child refugees. She is making a 6,000-mile journey from Boston to San Diego to carry a message of hope for displaced people everywhere, especially for children who have been separated from their families, with a simple but urgent message: “Don’t forget us.” This community event will be the grand finale of Amal’s visit to Los Angeles. Join us for a joyous free outdoor celebration of this worldwide phenomenon directed by the legendary Debbie Allen.
As for additional theater offerings, we will have two poignant theater pieces that I feel will move and inspire you. Asher Kravitz’s acclaimed novel “The Jewish Dog,” adapted and directed by Yonatan Esterkin, will bring to the stage a stirring tale of survival and devotion through the eyes of a puppy raised by a Jewish family, witnessing the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust. This performance explores loyalty, identity, and the fine line that separates humanity from animals. Audiences of all ages can enjoy this production. Then in January, we are presenting the acclaimed Boston Court Theater production of “Both And (Laughing While Black),” a play that deeply investigates the nucleus of Black joy as a woman’s journey reveals a unique and powerful story, rich with humor, raw honesty, and passion, that becomes a brilliant meditation on how to reconnect with personal happiness.
I hope that you will join us in person over the next few months to share in the undeniably unique experience of live performance at your city’s performing arts center. Please join us to celebrate the performing arts.