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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


ObamasKennedyCenter  Republicans grumble as Obamas jet to New York and taxpayers pick up the tab

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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)

The O in Obama is really a zero
Zero rhymes with Nero
Go figure.

What do you expect from a former state senator who voted "present" 130 times?

As Rome Burns.......... We have Idiot-in- Chief.....Let us eat Cake.....

Recession is only for the little people.

Wonderful, They make it back from vacation just in time to waste more taxpayer money. Such a nice, spendthrift family.

Another liberal attempt, just before the midterm elections... "A Broadway Celebration," which will be taped at the "White****party***house" for broadcast Oct. 20...a futile attempt to make the obamas look like people.

Despite the fact he's not going to them, he still needs to spend money to get them to come here. Food, housing, travel...All expenses which will inevitably come out of the taxpayers' wallet instead of his own.

the "Natural Born Kenyan" doin what he does best. Wasting our money

I have viewed multiple comments about Obama being an elitist and you also have to include the writer of this article. The writer makes it seem that if you don't enjoy Broadway music that you have no class. Not everyone enjoys that type of entertainment and there is nothing wrong with that.
BTW, George and Laura Bush have more class in their pinky toes than the current occupiers of the White House.

Barry Setterro a.k.a. Obama is not eligible to serve as President of the USA since he was born in Kenya, Africa. Maybe he should look to hollywood for his next job.

So what else is new, the term obama is "serving" as president is just one big vacation for him at tax payer's expense. He's is always on vacation, going to parties, or ball games, throwing extravagant dinner parties or hosting the hollywood elite parties, and going golfing.......whew! With all that how does he have any time to work.......I guess it's a blessing in disguise, if he's off partying, he is spending less time wreaking havoc on our country, and lying to us.

Obama and family has wasted enought of the peoples money.

The Presidential perks are getting out of control. Did George Washington ever act like this? Take this many vacations?
The Office of the President of the United States is a duty and a privilege. I'm not saying any president doesn't deserve a little down time like any hard working American, but the normal hard working American doesn't take 7 vacations a year and doesn't have 'balls' at their home every couple of months. Most of us, especially in these time, are trying to get through month to month and survive. A night at the movies is a treat for many Americans nowadays. The frivolous spending by our politicians is pissing me off!!

So then, I ask myself, when was the last time Barry, Nasty Nancy, Harry's Reid or any of their elitist ilk had a $15.00 a plate fundraiser where the peasentry was invited to attend...Of course they care, they can really relate...just ask what it was like they were unemployed do to their jobs being outsourced.

This is all Bush's fault.

If you don't want us to complain about cost, how about telling us WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS? What about the security costs involved in clearing all of these people into the White House? Refreshments and/or food being served? (Wagyu (sp) beef for $100/lb?). Travel costs for the performers and their staff? PBS personnel?

I VERY much hope that those individuals are picking up their own tab for this -- but why do I so seriously doubt it?

What in the hell is going on over there at the white house?????

If any of you were ever landlords, the First Couple remind me of tenants who are facing eviction. They live it up and trash the place before leaving and the landlord is left with the aftermath.

I didn't think any administration in recent memory could be worse than Carter, but I think the Obama White House has surpassed them both in arrogance and incompetence.

Throw these highly destructive people out of the White House, out of Washington and out of this country. I don't think the country has much of a chance of EVER overcoming the damage these idiots are doing, day after day.
What a joke on America! Don't blame me. I didn't vote for him.

who are the fools that this man convinced, that he should be president? are they still expecting anything from this administration? Im not, and I would love to say "I told you so" to those who did. Only the blind, dumb and those not invested in this country (besides govt employees, of course) could have possibly fell for the hollow rhetoric this man has laid down. Can someone tell me how long it will now take to undo these moronic policies, procedures and protocols that we are being burdened with. Can the next elected president in 2012 , by executive order, reverse course? please tell me YES!!

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