Every year, I look forward to the broadcast of The Kennedy Center Honors Gala. This year was no exception, especially due to Broadway composer and lyricist Jerry Herman being an honoree. The morning after, I am very disappointed with the tribute for Jerry. It was barely more than a truncated chorus of some of his greatest hits, with producers obviously saving extra time for a performer who isn't even an American citizen.
The highpoints were a regal Angela Lansbury giving Jerry his introduction and narrating his bio film, Carol Channing opening the performance segment with a brief line from Hello, Dolly, Sutton Foster singing a portion of "Before the Parade Passes By" from Hello, Dolly in a snazzy gold sequined mini-dress, and Chita Rivera singing and dancing a short portion of "I Don't Want to Know" from Dear World (complete with odd choreography and male back up dancers).
Matthew Morrison, with only a handful of shows on his Broadway resume, had the big song and dance number of "It's Today," the opening number of Mame. (Why does this guy keep showing with big performance numbers? Stop!) Christine Ebersole and Christine Baranski, both veterans of playing the title role in Mame productions, sang a short "Bosom Buddies" from Mame. Laura Benanti gave too much soprano to "Time Heals Everything" from Mack and Mabel, a number made famous by Bernadette Peters. Kelly O'Hara and Matt Bomer (a soap star?) sang “It Only Takes a Moment" from Hello, Dolly.
Finally, Angela and the rest of the performers joined a chorus of glee club kids and the Washington D.C. Gay Men's Chorus on "The Best of Times" from La Cage Aux Folles.
This little video shot backstage during rehearsals, and uploaded by BHBPR, may be the best tribute of all - three grand dames of the musical theatre Angela Lansbury, Carol Channing and Chita Rivera. It's priceless.