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Obamas find a way to do Broadway at home, hosting star-studded PBS taping [Updated]

July 14, 2010 |  2:55 pm

NathanLaneProducersTinaFinebergAP During the administration of President George W. Bush, news that Tony was to be heavily represented at a fete in the East Room of the White House would have suggested a British theme to the evening, with emissaries of then-Prime Minister Blair in attendance.

Times have changed. On Monday, the dignitaries hosted by President and Mrs. Obama will bring their regards from Broadway, not 10 Downing Street, while sharing talents that collectively have won them 11 Tony Awards.

The public is invited to watch -- eventually -- on "A Broadway Celebration," which will be taped for broadcast Oct. 20 as an installment in the PBS series, "In Performance at the White House."

The Tony-winning performers are actor-singers Nathan Lane (two Tonys), Audra McDonald (four Tonys), Idina Menzel, Tonya Pinkins and Karen Olivo (one each, for "Wicked," "Jelly's Last Jam" and "West Side Story," respectively), and pianist Marvin Hamlisch, a Tony winner for his score to "A Chorus Line." Working behind the scenes is Jerry Mitchell, Tony-winning choreographer (for the 2004 revival of "La Cage aux Folles"), who will guide 20 Washington, D.C., dance students in a segment from "Hairspray," another show he choreographed.

Also performing are Brian d'Arcy James ("Shrek: The Musical"), Chad Kimball ("Memphis") and Assata Alston, a 12-year-old from Queens, N.Y., who recently debuted at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

[Update: The White House announced Friday that Elaine Stritch and "Hairspray" veterans Danielle Arci and Constantine Rousouli have been added to the show; Stritch is a Tony winner (for her one-woman show, "Elaine Stritch at Liberty"), bringing the ensemble's collective career Tony haul to 12.]

ObamasBroadwayPresumably, critics who slammed the president and first lady last year for wasting taxpayer money when they flew to New York for dinner and a Broadway show (August Wilson's drama "Joe Turner's Come and Gone") won't complain about Broadway coming to them. Obama-watchers can catch the president's show-opening remarks live on Monday at 4 p.m. Pacific on the Internet at www.whitehouse.gov, but the public will have to wait until October for the performances.

As for those who got their hopes up when we mentioned a British theme in the East Room, PBS will oblige July 28 with the next "In Performance at the White House" broadcast, starring Paul McCartney with guests Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Jonas Brothers, Herbie Hancock, Corinne Bailey Rae, Dave Grohl, Faith Hill, Emmylou Harris, Lang Lang and Jack White. The show, celebrating Sir Paul's receiving this year's Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, was taped in the East Room on June 2.

-- Mike Boehm


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Photos: Nathan Lane in "The Producers"; the Obamas, dressed for a Broadway night out, walk on the White House lawn in 2009 en route to the presidential helicopter for first leg of their controversial trip to New York. Credits: Tina Fineberg / AP (Lane); Aude Guerrucci / Bloomberg News (Obamas).

Comments () | Archives (333)

We must fire this incompetent poser. Keep the pressure up!

@TrueAmericanPatirot - Your life is 100% better since 0bama became president? Then it's nice you could find the time to come in here and post Mr. President, since you and your wife are the only ones who can make that claim.

wating more taxpayers money.

these elitists should move to Greece where they have royalty.

Oh, he loves being president; it's the work he hates. Much like his constituents. They love getting those government entitlements, as long as they don't have to earn them. Must be nice. Millions of hardworking people are out of work, losing their homes, don't know where their next meal is coming from, and he's partying like it's 1999. All I can say is, remember what happened to the aristocrats during the French Revolution.

Overheard when Queen Michelle Antoinette Obama whispered to her lady in waiting: "Let them eat low calorie, non-salted, high fiber soy cake while they fill out their unemployment forms." Party hearty , Mr. President, because the time is fast approaching when the National Beverage will abruptly switch from Kool-Aid to Iced Tea with a sprig of mint! November 2, 2010 = Democrat 9-11.

Let them eat cake. This is not so much an imperial white house but more like the soviet commissars. This guy is pathetic.

All those people who voted for Obama because he "is one of them". Do you still feel connected with this man? Is he looking out for you? Is he still the people's president? Children 10 and under don't worry because you won't really remember what it was like and you will get used to a life under dictatorship. Adults 60 and over you won't suffer long as most of your life is behind you. Everybody else in between...well you will feel the worst of the worst, but not to worry. You will be reminded everyday and in every way that it was Bush's fault!

It's about time the Obamas can let their hair down and enjoy a break. Not like Bus, who was in Texas (that great state of culture) all of the time.

Posted by: Elrod McLish | July 19, 2010 at 06:46 AM

At least when Bush went on vacation, he went back to his HOME in Crawford, TX or he went to Camp David, MD.

Ok i went for about 5 pages thinking i would see some liberal make a comment on this and how he deserves it but i didnt. Maybe i just didnt dig deep enough in the comments but i saw one that simple slammed Texas. I dont recall Bush taking this much time to himself while he was president yet he was slammed for every small vacation he took to the ranch. Which cost taxpayers almost nothing compared to these adventures the Obama's are having. It was a flight for AF1 and thats it. He already owned the ranch and was just chillin so to speak and having meetings etc with heads of state as well so he wasnt totally out of the loop. Yea i was not crazy about Bush at all i will never forgive him for the patriot act until it is rescinded.

I thought this jackass 'wasn't going to rest' until...jobs were created, the oil spill was fixed, etc, et al....Having said this I agree with a previous commenter...I wish the guy would play 100% of the time.

This guy has to go.

He thinks he's royalty only he's screwed up the country royally.

Is it November yet?

President Obama is probably America's most intelligent president and that is the problem here. Too many Americans are unable to understand or appreciate how wonderful to have a president as cultured and perspective as Obama. After 8 years of a non-intelligent president before Obama this may be understandable. Obama is a scholar and he knows and understands things that most people don't. That is why he is president now to educate and to reform America.


This is disgusting.

President Obama and much more in common wiht Emperior Nero than I ever could imagine

Million rounds of golf
massive numbers of white house parties
Seven vacations in less than 18 months

Does this guy ever work?

Now we know where the "STIMULOS MONEY" is...... in obama's pocket !!!!!
If this is not a dictator, I dont know what kind of persons he is!

Who really cares? This guy has a personal life too. I'm so sick of seeing articles of Obama playing golf and grabbing a burger to eat and people making such a big deal our of it. Hes only human just like us.

History repeating--- Nero Fiddles while Rome burns Obama Diddles while US facing economic disaster

it is heartless to rub in the face of those who are hurting financially right now that the White House is immune. I would have had no problem with one or two vacations and one or two galas like this, but the number is excessive. If Obama were a Republican president doing this, the lamestream media who be screaming bloody murder of how heartless he was, how much money was being wasted, how insensitive he was. Since it is Obama, there will be very little criticism.

Hey, maybe nobody told him that he would actually 'have' to work!

Obama's Presidency really consists of 6 root activities.

1. Partying
2. Vacationing
3. Golfing
4. Campaigning
5. Fundraising
6. Figuring out what Americans want and doing the opposite

And anyone who disagrees just isn't being honest, considering the staggaring numbers.

Some President we elected.

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