President Barack Obama on Broadway musicals

Yesterday, the Obama family welcomed Broadway to the White house in an event hosted by Nathan Lane, which featured performances by Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald and Brian d’Arcy James, among others. The President opened the event with a reflection on musical theatre’s national significance:

“Now there’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music….It’s one of the few genres of music that can inspire the same passion in an eight-year-old that it can an 80-year-old — and make them both want to get up and dance….In many ways, the story of Broadway is also intertwined with the story of America. Some of the greatest singers and songwriters Broadway has ever known came to this country on a boat with nothing more than an idea in their head and a song in their heart. And they succeeded the same way that so many immigrants have succeeded — through talent and hard work and sheer determination.  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.  But perhaps the most American part of this truly American art form is its optimism. Broadway music calls us to see the best in ourselves and in the world around us — to believe that no matter how hopeless things may seem, the nice guy can still get the girl, the hero can still triumph over evil, and a brighter day can be waiting just around the bend.”

The event was taped and will be broadcast on PBS on October 20, 2010.

4 thoughts on “President Barack Obama on Broadway musicals

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. President Obama said that “Now there’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music…. It’s one of the few genres of music that can inspire the same passion in an eight-year-old that it can an 80-year-old….”

    I agree. I am webmaster of a site dedicated to preserving and making widely available the history and music of the Inland Children’s Chorus (1936-1970), which was an original and historically unique contribution by an American industry to young people and the performing arts. Based in Dayton, Ohio, this Chorus was staged by two-time Tony Award nominee and long-time Broadway theatrical designer Raymond Sovey. Many of the songs sung by the 8-16 year old children were those of Broadway giants — from Romberg to Rodgers. Many of us would agree with one of the comments at the site: “To this day I still hum and sing those songs I learned which turned me into a Broadway ‘junkie’!”

    I would add that these songs lifted the spirits in the formative years of the thousands of children who performed them. If you would like to visit our site, google “Inland Chorus” or visit (


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