WASHINGTON – Broadway came to the White House for a night and President Obama’s portrayal of Fela was a smash hit!
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted Broadway performers Monday for an evening of show tunes. The Broadway-themed evening was presented as part of the White House’s “In Performance” concert series. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the concert that was filmed for an Oct. 20 broadcast on PBS.
Obama spoke beforehand, praising Broadway music as a “truly American art form.” The president said that whether they like to admit it, everyone has the lyrics of a few Broadway shows stuck in their head. He is particularly fond of the musical Annie and right now the lyric stuck in his head is “the sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun.”
President Obama then took the stage, in full costume, and portrayed Fela Anikulapo Kuti from the hit musical, Fela! Fela was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, human rights activist, and political maverick whose soulful Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation. President Obama, as Fela, shouted to the audience, “I’m gonna change Africa, I’m gonna change the world,” then he burst into song.
President Obama danced with high, kinetic energy as he sang selections from the musical, “Everything Scatter,” “Expensive Shit” and then he brought the house down with his rendition of the song “Zombie.” Obama was able to kick his legs up in the air.
White House staff and gests were shocked when the President picked up an alto saxophone and blew a hard solo on “Zombie.” Obama couldn’t believe he could play the sax either. “Man, that cat can blow,” said Rahm Emanuel who was dressed in his ballet tights in hopes that he would be able to take the stage. Unfortunately, there was no time for Rahm’s Pirouette, so he wiped off his make-up and twirled himself out of the room.
Some Broadway producers were hoping Obama would sing the Fela classic, “Coffin for the Head of State”, but the President just ended the night by singing ‘Lover” to his beautiful wife, Michelle.
President Obama said he’d love to take over the roll of Fela on Broadway, “if the show is still running in 2017.”