Broadway at the White House

From Sunlen Miller: Tonight, the stars of the Great White Way lit up the White House. Broadway’s best and brightest, including Nathan Lane, Elaine Strich and Idina Menzel, performed for the Obama family in the fifth of a series of White House concerts, spotlighting different genres of music. “Over the years musicals have also been at the forefront of our social consciousness, challenging stereotypes, shaping our opinions about race, and religion death and disease, power and politics,” President Obama said. "But perhaps the most American part of this truly American art form is its optimism.” The president said there’s nothing quite like the “power and passion” of Broadway show tunes. “At its heart, it’s the power of a story -- of love and of heartbreak; of joy and sorrow; singing witches, dancing ogres. Musicals carry us to a different time and place, but in the end, they also teach us a little bit of something about ourselves. It’s one of the few genres of music that can inspire the same passion in an 8-year-old that it can an 80-year-old -- and make them both want to get up and dance.” The concert, which will air in October on PBS, was hosted by Lane, who got -- at times -- a little saucy with his remarks. He joked that at first he was stopped while getting through security at the White House because he was mistaken for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. “That was embarrassing,” Lane said. Lane said many men avoid Broadway musicals, fearing that “your y-chromosome is going to fall off.” “He ain't afraid,” Lane said of President Obama’s enjoyment of shows. “He even enjoys going to the theater. You know after Lincoln, presidents haven’t exactly raced to the theater.” The president encouraged people to go out and spend money on the theater. “Not that I’m trying to boost the economy or anything but go to a show! Buy some tickets!” he said. -- Sunlen Miller

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