Idina Menzel, other Broadway stars 'In Performance at the White House'


Another opening, another show ... but this time, the show leaves the Great White Way for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The recurring PBS series "In Performance at the White House" has become known for themed programs that span a wide range of music, and Broadway gets its due in a new telecast Wednesday, Oct. 20 (check local listings).

Recorded in July, the episode takes such talents as Idina Menzel ("Wicked"), Nathan Lane and Elaine Stritch to Washington, D.C. With President and Mrs. Obama in attendance, the George C. Wolfe-directed offering includes stage-based song standards from "Blue Skies" to "What I Did for Love" (rendered by Menzel, and also sung by Lea Michele in the season premiere of Fox's "Glee," on which Menzel has appeared).

The Broadway tribute continues to reflect the variety for which "In Performance at the White House" has striven during the Obama administration.

Stevie Wonder was awarded the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in a February 2009 program, with Tony Bennett, Paul Simon and Martina McBride among those on hand to pay tribute by singing from the Wonder catalog.

The October 2009 "Fiesta Latina" offering used the South Lawn of the White House to host Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Jose Feliciano and others in a festival of Hispanic music.

Black History Month was marked last February by a cast including Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, Natalie Cole and Smokey Robinson in what was titled "A Celebration of Music From the Civil Rights Movement."

And this past July, the honoring of Paul McCartney with the aforementioned Gershwin Prize made the White House a destination not only for the ex-Beatle but also for such admiring peers as Wonder and Elvis Costello.

As Broadway takes the spotlight at the nation's top residence, then, another music form gets special kudos. But it won't be the last, at least as long as the current, arts-supporting president holds the office.

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