What a treat I had this morning. I clicked on an article on Playbill.com that mentioned Elaine Stritch would be performing in a concert for Barack Obama. It was an event called “An Broadway Celebration: In performance at the White House”. A 60 minute concert featuring Broadway performers singing showtunes.
It was being streamed live. So at 9am I was able to watch. It was such fun. It was an intimate affair and it felt like you were in the room.
Hosted by the very funny Nathan Lane, it featured performances from Idina Menzel (Wicked, Glee), Brian D’Arcy James (Shrek, Next To Normal), the divine Audra McDonald (Ragtime, Master Class), Tonya Pinkins (Caroline, or Change), Karen Olivo (West Side Story), Chad Kimball (Memphis) , Miss Stritch of course, and a few others.
Highlights were Indina Menzel (in top form), pulling off “Defying Gravity” (groan I know, but it was good), she also joined Mavin Hamlisch, on piano, for a splendid version of “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line. Nathan Lane mentioning that J.Edgar Hoover was a show queen (very funny), Audra McDonald sung 2 songs, her voice is so beautiful and pure.
The real highlight, was seeing Elaine Stritch, goof up her second song, one she has sung endless times before – Stephen Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here”. She forgot the verses several times, had to recommence at a certain point, her accompanist had to constantly sing the words to prompt her. It was kind of embarrassing, and certainly riveting. She was beside herself, and went on to make a speech about when she first heard the President got into power, from her room at the Carlyle Hotel. She was hysterical, and is a force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure! Nathan Lane’s ad-libbing afterwards was priceless.
President Obama, with Michele and his daughters seemed delighted with the whole evening. I certainly enjoyed myself.