Covering the Ford Amphitheatre or theater, depending on what French you speak, came to be a venture into the other side of, “to be or not to be, au natural.” There were no bells and whistles, as those of us here in the Hollywood side of America, are accustomed. There were no black limos especially priced for artist pick-up, but rather a genuine mingling of conscious spirits, of sorts. At any rate, the venue’s Summer Opening Tour evening invitation was unbelievably refreshing. Whereas there is a lot of old hat, traditional venues located in our beautiful “City of Lost Angels”, the wistful aura of the breeze that swept across, tinted skins, highlighted by the sun, surely found it’s, way to the Ford, last week. Zev. Yaroslavsky and the LA County Arts Commission set the Ford’s summer program to inspire and to uplift. The series, rolling into its second year, is a natural fit for pairing local artists with renowned performers. The main attraction of the evening was, William Berry, an, if not an actor, is missing his calling. Berry is one of a number of people that the Amphitheater keeps on staff during the theatres run. Summer brings tourist and the opportunity to show off, this made by nature hills of Cypress and Chaparral, outdoor house of entertainment. As a group of fledgling Ford first comers line up to take the evening tour, William tells a very funny and TV App ready story. His rendition of how the Hollywood sign, how it came to be, and the history of the people that helped it to become that way, needs to claim its own page in Ford’s archives of infotainment. The Ford facility sits squarely surrounded by its kindred family, is the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre. To the East heading downtown lie the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Music Center, and the Staples Center.
Did you know that once upon a time, the Hollywood sign had to be un-plugged and carried from one side of the hill, to the other? “There are a number of us working in the Ford that are LA County employees, Berry said”. William has worked for the Amphitheater, for six years and as far as we could tell, seems to like his job. In his line of service, he oversees a staff of 60 people, who are house staff and works with producers to insure that their needs are met.
The house manager and the events services manager are completely different. As Berry explained, “the House manager runs the house, all night and through show time. I handle all things that are pre the show and work with producers who have specific needs. I manage pre-production anything not production or box office. I know how to put the right people together. We have an outside vendor who handles concessions; however, I help to broker those needs. Hollywood Bowl runs the lot and I work with them.” Unlike most of the budget, supported venues in the County, the Center theatre Group, the Ford gains it’s foundation support through merging the creative talent of world-renowned performers with LA County based artist. This year, the 1920’s built 1,421 seat outdoor amphitheater and 87-seat indoor theater will kick off their Jam session at the venue with a surprise, TBA performance on, July 5. The Ford has been able to stay small and grow gradually, rather than spike up business up quickly, as in most corporations, who build quickly and then with one whoosh, fall apart.
Solid acts who although lack funding, are able to embellish an intimate audience, and steadily build a fan base by working with the Ford’s sponsorship and pairing program. The Ford originally used for Shakespearean theater, jazz concerts, and dance performances is an Architectural design similar to the Judaic gates of Jerusalem. Former Councilman Ed Edelman obtained the Ford, received funding, and set out to revive the theatre thus, setting the course of the launch, of the “Ford Summer Season”. The season (originally carried the name of, “Summer Nights at the Ford”), this happened in 1993. Visiting tourist and locals receive the Summer Ford combo package, which includes music, theater, film, and activities shared by the entire family. The Ford produces, in partnership with LA County based arts organizations.
Ford Amphitheatre has positioned itself, to be the go to, for futuristic models of a full service entertainment venue. The Amphitheatre clearly reflects the true diversity of Los Angeles and all of its varying, entertainment entities. In celebration, the Ford has proven that its doors and arms are always open. It strives and continues to develop innovative program packages that help to highlight artist and diverse culture from around the world.
For more information on the John Anson Ford Theatre Summer Kick Off Season J.A.M ( Jazzed and Motivated) contact (323) 856-5793 and by fax at (323) 464-1158. www.FordTheatres.org , @Ford Theatres. For press relations for J.A.M please contact Lucy Pollak at email@example.com.