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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)

Who cares if the Obamas just want to have a little fun while they're living in the White House. Compared to the kinds of money being spent throughout the government, it's like a single blade of grass on the Augusta back nine.

I am glad that with 20% unemployment, 2 wars, a sinking economy, and a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that the Obama's have not let their social life get crimped. After all, the Obama's deserve a star studded gala because it's been 1 whole day since they came home from vacation...and about the unemployed "little people", let them eat cake !

Nero fiddles Broadway tunes while Rome burns...

Nero fiddles while Rome burns

Sigh....just sigh

While the foundation of our constitution is chipped away, and the nation struggles with high unemployment, our leaders are entertained by personal broadway performances. This is how communist socialists operate. The few dominate the many. They claim that they want "equality", but that equality never includes them. They want to "spread the wealth" which really means rape the rich. The rich have worked hard and demonstrated discipline to accumulate personal wealth. The rich have proven that they can be productive, and they use their wealth to create more wealth, and in the process employ others along the way. The liberal communists produce nothing, but steal what's not theirs and reward those that are unproductive.

Democrats claim that Republicans are the "party of the rich." And how do the Democrats behave? They live lavish lives, spending millions on travel booze and live it up with private showings of the best entertainment, while houses are being bulldozed in Detroit.

Send them all to the unemployment lines in November. Let them learn to live like we do.

Nero fiddles while Rome burns...

Does this guy do ANY work?

I'm so glad the impostor head of state gets show tunes and ice cream cones round the clock, and a private jet ride for lobster. I see a seedy, nasty man child celebrity and the greatest phony ever selected to rule our country. Making reactionaries of us all is a pathetic hate-filled perversion, you creep.

The USA is $14 Trillion Dollars in debt. Do you think some at the top could stop spending? Just a little!

Vacations and Parties, how else would you like to blow our tax money? Please relax, enjoy yourself with our tax dollars. At the same time just imagine how many jobs would be created with the money you are blowing.

I will not rest until the leak is plugged and every drop of oil is cleaned up from the Gulf beaches. NOT.

Enjoy your party Obama, you need it to rest up from your vacation and golf.

If Obama was paid by the hour, he would have earned about $0.12 thus far.

And, Michele Obama was overheard saying,"Let them eat cake."

Fiddling while rome burns.

Who cares that people are out of work, not Obama - he just wanted to tax small business into the ground, pile on more taxes and regulations on all of us so we can all end up broke and then go watch a show!

None of these politicians can be trusted!

What a cavalcade of losers.

All this partying at Taxpayer's expense.....Let them eat cake... Very Elitist.

Good...Let big 0 party. 4 only when he parties, he has no time to hurt the country.

A law needs to be passed that states that (with the exception of security) all vacation and party expenses must be paid by the president from his own personal money. This law should extend to congress as well. I'm tired of paying for the president to have this lavish lifestyle. It sickens me the amount of taxpayer money that is wasted on frivolity.

I have never objected to a President promoting the Arts, however, it is hard to justify when your overall performance is so poor. He should focus on ALLOWING the private sector to create jobs, reduce government spending, and rescind Obamacare!

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