Magic Hour with Muse/ique at the Taper

“Rewriting the American songbook for today.”

That’s how Artistic and Music Director Rachael Worby describes the mission that inspires her leadership of her superb MUSE/IQUE orchestra.

Music, art, cinema and conversation took center stage at the Mark Taper Forum last night as we all took a trip back in time to celebrate that extraordinary moment of L.A. culture, right here in the heart of the DTLA. The 2024 season of MUSE/IQUE opened with “Magic Hour in Los Angeles: America’s Cultural Renaissance of 1974” and continues in the Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center tonight and tomorrow.

Tickets are still available for Sunday March 17, 2024purchase here.

Above photo—Rachael Worby, Music and Artistic Director of MUSE/IQUE, conducts theMUSE/IQUE orchestra with guest artists. Photo by Haoyuan Ren, Courtesy of MUSE/IQUE.

The three-night program presents music of 1974, featuring songs from Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Eagles, Los Lobos, Bill Withers, Jerry Goldsmith, Los Lobos, Linda Ronstadt, and Marvin Gaye, as well as the movie themes from The Godfather Part II (Academy Award winner for Best Picture 1974), Chinatown and The Way We Were. 

Maestro Worby made excellent use of the venue, with award-winning actor Glynn Turman entering from behind the audience to give us a bluesy harmonica punctuated rendition of Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy, as we recalled the plays and artists who graced the stage of the Mark Taper Forum in 1974.

Later, the haunting opening trumpet notes from the theme from The Godfather films echoed throughout the auditorium as the orchestra joined in.

Spectacular vocalists Javier Almaráz, LaVance Colley, Rachel Gonzalez, backed by The DC6 Singers Collective, dazzled us with their sensitive interpretations of the soaring melodies of Stevie, Joni, Marvin and Bill.

The superbly-arranged evening of music was interspersed by Worby’s thoroughly researched mini-lectures that explained and contextualized this important and groundbreaking cultural renaissance happening in Los Angeles during the 1970s.

By the night’s conclusion, we were all up, dancing in the aisles. Great fun! Catch these shows if you can.

Maestro Worby on cowbell.

From the press release:

1974 in Los Angeles was, in a word, magic. At a time when Americans began breaking free from post-war conformity, the city that outsiders once considered glitzy and superficial emerged as the unlikely cultural epicenter for exponential creativity and blossoming self-expression. Not only did groundbreaking works of art from film, television, and theatre spring forth from this “magic hour”, but so did the idea that it is often art and pop culture that lead our way forward. MUSE/IQUE and CTG:FWD joined forces to celebrate the creative heavy-hitters who transformed our city and the year that crowned Los Angeles the cultural capital of the world.

Great art captures us completely. Great songs cause us to sing along. Great rhythms inspire us to dance and great productions make us want to laugh or cry. Perhaps because they seem to reflect some interior part of who we are. In the early 70s in Los Angeles, the great art made here did all of that—Los Angeles rocked the world. America was shaking and Los Angeles was the epicenter. So tonight, we turn the light on the movie makers and musicians, the television and theater impresarios, who understood the importance of a social conscience and who collectively collaborated to change the world and make impacts that we feel still today. Great artists like Stevie Wonder, with their enormous audiences, finally began to understand their power as agents of social change.

Artistic and Music Director Rachael Worby
Photos by Haoyuan Ren, Courtesy of MUSE/IQUE.
MUSE/IQUE 2024 Season:

In our 2024 season, MUSE/IQUE spotlights the transformative American artists and thinkers who rejected norms and limitations to forge a new and better future. When artists make loud choices and take bold stances, they teach us that nothing is impossible. Join us in a celebration of the stories and music that moved America.

Really Big Show: How Ed Sullivan Changed America Every Sunday Night

Tuesday,  April 30 and Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 7:30 pm

Outside at The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108

Sunday, May 5 at 7:30 pm

Indoors at Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

Every Sunday Night, in front of a live studio audience, Ed Sullivan promised millions of Americans gathered around televisions in their living rooms a “really big show.” Beginning in the late 1940s and enduring for nearly a quarter of a century, The Ed Sullivan Show was the ultimate primetime, must-watch variety show; a show that broke the mold and turned a revolving door of top-notch dancers, singers, bands, comedians, and a variety of entertainers into overnight sensations. But the true magic was how The Ed Sullivan Show was the way its on-air talent reflected the true diversity of the American public; Ed welcomed guests regardless of their race, ethnicity, or nationality when it was exceedingly unpopular and difficult to do so. The Ed Sullivan Show held up a mirror to America and reflected the possibility of a more hopeful and harmonious future. Join MUSE/IQUE and Artistic & Music Director Rachael Worby for a “really big shoo”—as Ed’s impersonators would lovingly pronounce it!—that celebrates how Ed Sullivan shook up the system and reached into living rooms across the country and into our hearts, minds, and imaginations. 

The Judas of Folk: Dylan Plugs In

Open House: June 22 and 23 at Pasadena Memorial Park

85 E. Holly Street, Pasadena CA 91103

Tuesday, June 25 and Wednesday, June 26 at Skirball Cultural Center

Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

It was outrageous. It was audacious. It was electric. When Bob Dylan plugged in his guitar for an electric set at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, he changed the conversation about the rules of music and art forever. With his stunning “betrayal” in Newport, Dylan challenged the conventions of folk and propelled the genre into thrilling new territory. Join MUSE/IQUE and Artistic & Music Director Rachael Worby as we trace the progression of folk music from its traditional roots to its role as the music of movements and protests; to Dylan’s bold swing, and beyond. 

Plenty of Heart, Plenty of Hope: The Making of Oklahoma! and the Modern Musical

Friday, July 26; Saturday, July 27; and Sunday, July 28

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Oklahoma! was undoubtedly the first of its kind. In the early 1940s, it was unconceivable to combine the complex storytelling of the typical stage play with the music and movement of traditional musicals. All of that changed when composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein joined forces for what would be the very first of many legendary collaborations. Their provocative, unprecedented musical dared to tackle darker themes and serious subject matter all while capturing the hopeful, resilient spirit of the nation. With its ambitious dream ballet sequence and stirring musical motifs, Oklahoma! broke and rewrote all the rules for what was possible on Broadway. Join MUSE/IQUE and Artistic & Music Director Rachael Worby for the dazzling story behind Oklahoma! and how its enduring legacy inspires us to dream differently.

Freedom at The Moulin Rouge: A Las Vegas Civil Rights Story

Tuesday, August 27 and Wednesday, August 28 at 7:30 pm

Outside at The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108

Wednesday, September 4 and Thursday, September 5 at 7:30 pm

Indoors at Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

For one short year in 1955, The Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino had its name up in neon lights. MUSE/IQUE and Artistic & Music Director Rachael Worby present Freedom at The Moulin Rouge, the incredible, under-told story of the first-ever fully integrated hotel and casino in the country. Located just off The Strip in Las Vegas, which catered exclusively to white guests, The Moulin Rouge was a miraculous, vibrant place where people of all backgrounds could come together to relax, gamble, and, of course, dance ‘til dawn. Attracting a who’s-who of late-night patrons, including Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne, as well as Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and Marlene Dietrich, The Moulin Rouge sparked a new vision of people living, working, and making art together. Join us as we explore how, in a place that reflects the very best and very worst of America, The Moulin Rouge became a symbol for a community that ignited a movement and left an everlasting mark on Las Vegas that reverberates today.

Indivisible: The Glory of Lincoln’s Musical Soul

Wednesday, October 16 and Thursday, October 17 at 7:30 pm

Outside at The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108

Sunday, October 20 at 7:30 pm

Indoors at Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

In dark and uncertain times, music has always given us the courage of conviction. With much of his presidency plagued by war and civil unrest, Abraham Lincoln often turned to music for comfort, encouragement, and hope. Though he neither sang nor played an instrument, Lincoln once said: “Listening to melody, every man becomes his own poet, and measures the depth of his own nature.” Join MUSE/IQUE and Artistic Director Rachael Worby for our invigorating season finale, where we examine the impact of music on Lincoln’s soul. This triumphant performance celebrates the power of art to unite us and inspire us to keep marching forward. 

MUSE/IQUE revival productions celebrate some of our favorite past curations and programs. We revisit these stories with the goal of bringing them to a wider audience. Versions of this production were first presented in 2015 and 2023. 

Season After Party: Major Donor Thank You Celebration

November 2024 | Location TBD

This event is our thank you to the major donors that give at the $5,000 level and above and make it possible for our programs to be affordable and accessible at all.  We’re reimagining one of our members’ most beloved MUSE/IQUE performances, “Tapestry at 50,” as we return to Los Angeles in the 1970s. In 1971, Carole King moved from New York to the City of Angels to change the course of her career. Instead, she changed the world. From “You’ve Got a Friend” to “Where You Lead” and “I Feel the Earth Move” to “Natural Woman,” Tapestry changed the musical landscape for singer-songwriters and became a quintessential piece of Los Angeles’s musical history that paved the way for the cultural explosion of 1974.


Over the past decade, MUSE/IQUE has curated and presented unexpected live music adventures that shake loose the customs, norms and barriers of the traditional concert-going experience. MUSE/IQUE has never had a formal concert hall – the city is the venue – and no set genres or styles of performance are emphasized. Instead, cross-genre, multidisciplinary performances are placed in iconic community locales.

Led by Founder and Artistic and Music Director Rachael Worby, MUSE/IQUE is a member-supported, nonprofit performing arts organization making radically engaging live music experiences accessible for all. Built on a tradition of community and collaboration, we create events that feature an eclectic mix of artists and artistic disciplines in cultural locales across Los Angeles and Pasadena. MUSE/IQUE was founded by Artistic Director Rachael Worby to upend the misconception that the performing arts are elitist, unapproachable, and, frankly, dull! MUSE/IQUE’s mission is to build empathy and expand imaginations through transformative live events and strong partnerships with fellow nonprofit organizations in Pasadena and the greater Los Angeles area.

In addition to its live public performances, MUSE/IQUE’S OFF STAGE brings intimate, interactive events for 18 community partner organizations. Each on-site event gives participants a curated experience based on programmatic themes of our upcoming performances and features guest artists direct from the MUSE/IQUE stage. Led by MUSE/IQUE staff, these events explore self-expression, encourage self-confidence and engage imaginations through music. Partners include Ability First, Academy of Music for the Blind, California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley, Five Acres, Hathaway/Sycamores, Hillsides, Jazz Hands for Autism, Learning Works, Mindful Veterans Project, Pasadena Senior Center, Performing Arts For All, Professional Child Development Center, Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, Union Station Homeless Services, Urban Compass, Villa Esperanza School, Villa Esperanza Adult Day Program, and Youth Emerging Stronger.

Presenting performances at landmark locations, MUSE/IQUE goes beyond the concert hall and into the community with spectacularly intimate performances that combine music, movement, and ideas from a diverse range of genres. MUSE/IQUE’s artistic collective consists of top musicians from the worlds of jazz, rock, blues, gospel, and more, along with today’s best singers, dancers, and thinkers. Together with an enthusiastic and growing audience base, these artists reimagine the possibilities for the live music experience. Founded in 2011, MUSE/IQUE is a membership driven organization presenting six major public events each year as well as a wide range of education and community engagement programs.


Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading not-for-profit theatre company, which, under the leadership of Artistic Director Snehal Desai, Managing Director / CEO Meghan Pressman, and Producing Director Douglas C. Baker, programs the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Center Theatre Group is one of the country’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics, and circumstances to serve Los Angeles. Founded in 1967,  Center Theatre Group has produced more than 700 productions across its three stages, including such iconic shows as “Zoot Suit;” “Angels in America;” “The Kentucky Cycle;” “Biloxi Blues;” “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992;” “Children of a Lesser God;” “Curtains;” “The Drowsy Chaperone;” “9 to 5: The Musical;” and “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.”

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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