Recently my fav erlick, David, and I were invited to attend a beautiful evening at the White House for an In Performance at the White House series. The In Performance series honors the arts and demonstrates the importance of arts education. This event was a celebration of The Music of Broadway.
I was honored to see the 85 year-old Elaine Stritch open the show. She made her Broadway debut in 1946. She’s a Tony Award winning veteran performer of Broadway, television and film.
Stitch’s final song was Stephen Sondheim’s, I’m Still Here. Singing to President Obama flooded Elaine with emotion and nerves which resulted in her blanking out on the lyrics. Her accompanist (of 12 years) sweetly kept tossing her the words. Mortified and upset, Elaine brought the program to a halt to apologize. The room fell silent. Everyone was captivated, fixed upon her humanity. We were spellbound.
The entire audience was struck by the emotion in the room. President Obama jumped to his feet and led the crowd in a standing ovation. We all cheered, not only for her talent as a performer, but also for her ability to be vulnerable and imperfect! It’s about time we give a standing ovation to that kind of honesty and humility.
In Performance at the White House” will also be televised on public broadcasting stations nationwide on October 20, 2010 at 9:00 PM ET as part of the PBS music series “In Performance at the White House.”