« Previous | Culture Monster Home | Next »

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

The Obamas give their regards to Broadway

Michelle Obama tells international audience why the arts matter

First family of arts lovers

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)

“Obama is a radical communist and I think it is becoming clear. He is going to destroy this country and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist.”

- Alan Keyes

Don't say anything ... Jesse Jackson will say your RACIST!

0bama party's while the USA sinks. What a fraud.

Kind of like the old Prince song...Gonna party likes it's 1999. The rest of us should just shut up and soak in the King's pleasures at our expense. His dog BO travels in his own jet to vacation. We are so screwed folks.

1. white and jealous
2.bored with no life
3.rac*** to your core
4.all of the above

Nero fiddles while Rome burns.
It's amazing how history repeats itself.

Where in the hell are the Republicans and the Moderate Democrats raising hell over this couple and their continued use of the tax payers money to enhance their play time (7 days a week it seems) while the nation is suffering 9.9+ un-employment.Has no one in the Congress/Senate got a conscience? Do none of them see what this arrogant couple of snobs are saying to the American people? I personally think the Republicans believe they are all safe this coming election year but I feel that for my part the vote will be 'None of the above" and I will be picking any one running against the embedded.

Sounds similar to Rome burning while Nero played the fiddle. This clown is out of touch with reality. Remember in November.

this is just plan gross. typical common selfabsorbed selfish obama marxist family ripping off the american children sticking them with the bill. they are the ugly people.

Sounds similar to Rome burning while Nero played the fiddle. This clown is out of touch with reality. Remember in November.

From vacation to Party Time !!!!

Any poor person or unemployed worker must be so thrilled to know that the one who promised them so much and failed to deliver can enjoy himself so much without even sacrificing the company of his dog. NOT!

How many unemployed would have compensation this week if the President had simply stayed at home and worked this past weekend? ...flying Air Force One and a backup, PLUS a private jet flight for his DOG... it is beyond shameful.

I am sooo glad he is focused like a laser on jobs, gee can you imagine if he were NOT focused on them......This man is a modern day Nero or Marie Antoinette

and lets air this days before the November election. PBS working for you.

Disgusting is the best way to desribe this Whitehouse.

Sweet November 2!

O'Bama is easily the worst president this country has ever had. I iddn't think anyone could make Jimmy Carter look competent, but O'Bama's done it.

He is such a fraud and now the whole country knows it. There will be no second term.

The party continues. Do you think he has any level of self awareness at all? Does he know how this looks bad? People are loosing their jobs, health and money; mainly due to him and the rest of the Democrats. In the mean time, he does this kind of crap. He really reminds me of a rebellious child. Not the leader of a nation.


It'll be no big surprise to see a photo of him sitting out on the front porch, with a wine bottle in a brown paper bag, waiting on his government check. This might be better for America, if he did just that!

The HNIC has to party all night or else he has to sleep next to old horseface all night.

There are soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are people losing their homes all over the country. There are people out of work everywhere. There are American citizens being treated like criminals for praying. Don't even mention Arizona.....and our President plays and plays and plays. What's that old saying about Nero fiddling while Rome burned?

« | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 16 17 | »


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Explore the arts: See our interactive venue graphics


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.