Some of today’s most intriguing songwriters share their stories, creative influences, and music in this summer series under the stars.
The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga will add music its roster of plays in August with a series of informal concerts showcasing emerging songwriters.
At 8 p.m., every Friday night in August, the songwriters will tell their stories and discuss their creative influences and music with on-stage interviewers and the audience.
“This series offers a unique format for music lovers in a magical setting,” according to co-producer Kim Zanti. “It’s so intimate and refreshing to hear music under the stars. People walk away feeling like they’ve sat around a campfire telling stories, singing songs and sharing laughs with their favorite musicians.”
Theatricum Botanicum has presented the series in a variety of formats over the years. The current format, a combination of interview and performance, made its debut in 2004 with songwriters Jackson Browne, Michelle Shocked, Rachel Yamagata, Tom McRae, Abba Roland and others.
This year’s edition will begin Friday, August 5, with KCRW’s Nic Harcourt welcoming independent recording artists Inara George, Gary Jules and Jesca Hoop, about whom Tom Waits said, “Jesca Hoop’s music is like a 4 sided coin. She is an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch, or a red moon. Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night”
On Friday, August 12, musician and journalist Julio Martinez will introduce father-and-daughter blues singers Jesse and Jose Payo. At 23, Jessie Payo is on the rise, having recently opened for Etta James, Robben Ford and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Entertainment Today called her “…the most exciting gust of wind, we’ve ever been blown away by.” Here, she performs with her father, Jose, whose song “I Don’t Deserve This,” recorded by Jessie and the Raindogs, won first place in Billboard’s World Song Contest’s R&B/Blues category.
On Friday, August, 19, KPFK’s Sonali Kolhatkar is joined by folk singer Holly Near. Inspired by 30 years in the peace and justice movement, Near is a unique combination of entertainer, teacher and activist.
On the final night of the series, Friday, August 26, Los Angeles songwriters Mike Andrews, James Combs, Ellen Geer, John Gold, Eric Lynn, Melora Marshall, Sarah Melson and Abba Roland join Inara George in a tribute to legendary singer/songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen.
Tickets for “These Friday Nights” are $35 for the lower tier and $25 for the upper tier. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at (310) 455-3723 or online at www.theatricum.com .The outdoor amphitheatre at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum is terraced into the hillside of the rustic canyon. People are advised to dress casually and bring cushions for bench seating. Snacks and beverages are available for sale. Limited parking in the lot is $5. Seniors and handicapped individuals park free. Adjacent boulevard parking is also free.