Playbill On-Line has confirmed that President Clinton will be on hand at the "Broadway for Hillary" Senatorial campaign fundraiser/birthday celebration Oct. 25 at the Ford Center in New York City.
The democratic fundraiser event is open to the public. Tickets are $250, $500 and $1,000 and can be purchased directly from the First Lady's NY Senatorial campaign office at (212) 239-2000 ext. 210.
As reported earlier on Playbill On-Line, the Oct. 25 Hillary Clinton birthday gala will be attended by many stars.
Rosie O'Donnell will host the Oct. 25 event, which also stars Barbara Cook, James Naughton, Savion Glover, Lauren Bacall, Tom Wopat, Joel Grey, Judith Light, Bebe Neuwirth, Chita Rivera, the cast of Fosse and the Gay Men's Choir among others. (Nathan Lane, earlier reported by the New York Post as attending, will not be there, owing to a scheduling conflict, a producer said.)
Alton Fitzgerald White, the star of the Broadway hit Ragtime has already confirmed that he will perform at the First Lady's Birthday Bash at the Ford Center, Oct. 25. "Alton's closing the first act with his big song from Ragtime, 'Make Them Hear You,'" said his manager, Rene Harriston. Harriston told Playbill On-Line that White would be backed up by the Gay Men's Choir.
USA Today (Oct. 14) reported that the President will "lead the crowd" in signing "Happy Birthday" to the First Lady, who is conducting an exploratory New York Senatorial campaign.
The White House press office could not immediately confirm any details, but event producer Marty Bell told Playbill On-Line that the President would "definitely" be on hand.
"It's a birthday celebration and the President will obviously be part of it," Bell said. Asked to confirm whether the President would actually be singing, Bell said he could not say and that he wanted to keep some things a surprise.
The Clintons are frequent Broadway patrons, and have seen Chicago, Rent, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Lion King, and The Iceman Cometh. Producers for the fundraiser are Marty Bell, Peter Stone and Fran Weissler.
Bell, who has some history linking the Clintons with Broadway, told Playbill On-Line that Ted Kennedy was booked for the fundraiser and that producer Fran Weissler had also been invited in.
Bell said that he and Peter Stone had done the "Broadway for Bill" show in 1992 at the St. James, and had later produced the "Broadway Tent" on the Capitol Mall in 1992 as part of the Clinton inauguration festivities. That event starred Barbara Cook, James Naughton, Savion Glover and Lauren Bacall, all of whom will perform on the same bill with White Oct. 25 at the Ford Center.
"After the [original Clinton] inauguration they invited us to the White House to do a Governor's Ball," Bell said. "Then they asked us to come back and do this show with Fran this time."
Weissler and her husband Barry produce Annie Get Your Gun, and Bell said that Tom Wopat and other cast members from that show would participate in the fundraising gala.
Bell indicated that there would be some poignant special material in the show's program and, when asked if any of it might have to do with Alton Fitzgerald White (who was wrongfully arrested by the NYPD July 16 in Harlem), he laughed and said, "I'd like to kind of leave it a surprise, and let people imagine."
-- By Murdoch McBride